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Water Resources Bureau

Agricultural Drainage Well Closure

Agricultural drainage wells (ADWs) were constructed in north central Iowa beginning in the early 1900s to provide outlets for surface runoff and tile drainage water from cropland areas. Because agricultural drainage wells discharge water directly to groundwater aquifers, they are potential routes for movement of contaminants to underground drinking water supplies.

The Agricultural Drainage Well Water Quality Assistance Fund was established in 1997 and amended in 2006. This program provides financial assistance to protect groundwater aquifers by closing ADWs and providing alternative drainage outlets to surface streams. The recent amendment was made to allow for other management practices to be considered where conditions for providing alternative drainage has excessive costs or where other factors are present, such as shallow bedrock.

To be on the list to be considered for cost-share (maximum of 75%) a landowner with an ADW or a landowner with land that drains to an ADW must apply (downloadable form) to the Division of Soil Conservation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

diagram of Drainage well

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