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My family went to Pine Lake State Park for a greatly anticipated weekend of camping, swimming, and beach picnics. When we arrived we learned the water was unsafe due to bacterial contamination. How disappointing for the weekend, but how tragic for life.

I'm happy to pay taxes to protect public land, but now we can't even enjoy it. In Iowa, where there are seven times more pigs than people, our water ways are under perpetual toxic harm. We know that corporate agriculture is the biggest contributor to water pollution in Iowa.

It doesn't have to be this way. Can you imagine the amazing recreational and tourist possibilities of our rivers and public parks if our waters were pollutant free?

Bottom line, this isn't just our swimming water, this is our drinking water, irrigating water, life-sustaining water. To get the clean water that Iowa's families deserve we need polluters to pay to clean up the mess they made.

Kristyn Arnold

Des Moines


Editor's note: Arnold is an Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) member.