Skip to main content

Problems

Iron

Iron is the fourth most abundant element in the earth’s crust, making up about 5% of its mass. Within humans and all other animals, iron plays a crucial role in carrying oxygen within the blood in the form of hemoglobin.

Though it is essential to aquatic organisms and humans, too much of the mineral in waterbodies is a  significant hazard.  At varying levels, it becomes toxic to different forms of aquatic life. In humans, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, arteriosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, and other serious ailments have been linked to excess iron intake. Too much iron in our water can also cause algae blooms. Algal blooms result in lowered dissolved oxygen, which can cause fish kills and even produce neurotoxins.

Iron is typically transported into the environment through water and is naturally present in groundwater. However, water draining from abandoned mines, landfills, or other places where water comes into contact with rusting steel can elevate iron to toxic levels in our waterbodies.

Solutions

Click on the solution below for more information
  • Adopt

    Are you a member of a group or organization in your community that would be interested in adopting this waterway? Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about stream adoption.

    Learn more about adopting a stream

  • Contact the EPA and/or the KY Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement.

    Report any acid mine drainage, extremely polluted sites, or suspected environmental violations to the EPA. If you live in Kentucky, also report the problem to the KY Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement

    Resources include:

    • Report Abandoned Mine Drainage – EPA
    • KY Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement Hotline – 502-564-2340
  • Allow for natural growth near waterways

    If you live or work next to a waterway, leave a 35′ to 100′ no mow zone on its banks. Allow natural and native plant growth in this buffer area or plant native trees, bushes, and groundcover. This vegetation can filter pollutants before they reach your waterway and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. Native plants and grasses require less watering and fertilizer and also provide important habitat for native species of wildlife.

    Resources include:

  • Reduce paved, impervious surfaces

    Impervious or impermeable surfaces, like pavement, contribute significantly to polluted stormwater runoff and alter stream flow habitat. If you’ve got excess pavement you’d like removed, consider a de-paving project with the Compact. Elsewhere, ensure that your downspouts drain to vegetation, gravel, or rainbarrels, rather than impervious surfaces. If you constructing or repairing your driveway, pervious pavement allows stormwater to infiltrate and filter through the ground. If you can’t do the whole drive, consider making only the portion closest to the street pervious.

    Resources include:
    1) De-paving Work – Cumberland River Compact (Call 615-837-1151)
    2) Rain Barrel Sales – Cumberland River Compact
    3) Rain Barrels Make Good Sense – UT Extension

  • Organize with others in your community. Make your voices heard and your votes count.

    Participate in community planning efforts and advocate for relevant measures that improve or protect water quality. Write to your elected official and let them know this is concern or invite them to speak about the impairment with your home-owners association. When elections come up, vote for candidates who will address the problem and hold them accountable to their promises. Support local watershed / environmental associations.

    Resources include:

  • Spread the word.

    Do your neighbors, family, or roommates know about the problem? Now that you know how to be an effective steward, enlist the help of others in your neighborhood. Share iCreek or resources within it with your neighbors and encourage them to join the effort to protect your creek.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]