DENNIS HEIMDAL: dennis-heimdal@uiowa.edu

Water quality data collected from two automated samplers near Big Spirit Lake are helping determine the effectiveness of prairie strips in the reduction of sediment and nutrient runoff from a nearby field.

The Water Chemistry Laboratory at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory – Regents Resource Center is a satellite environmental laboratory located in Milford, Iowa. It conducts analytical testing on both public and private drinking water, groundwater, surface water and wastewater.

Lakeside’s newest building is the Waitt Lab, a gift of the Friends of Lakeside Lab. Opened in 1998, it contains the Bovbjerg Water Chemistry Laboratory, two classrooms, several offices and Andrea’s Atrium, which is used for receptions and gatherings.

Staff provides educational and outreach services for local students and citizens, as well as classes for college students and interns offered at Iowa Lakeside Lab and area community colleges. The lab also assists local water testing facilities.


  • Worked with Iowa State University, the Dickinson County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Spirit Lake Protective Association in the STRIPS (Science-based Trials of Row Crops Integrated with Prairie Strips) program. This 10-year project looks at the effectiveness of prairie strips in reducing sediment and nutrient loss from farm fields.

  • Joined a number of state and local environmental professionals to create the first annual Prairie Lakes Conference. Held in the Iowa Great Lakes Region, agenda topics were geared toward the connections between Iowa’s land, prairies and lakes.

  • Completed first full year of data collection from the Global Lakes Ecological Observation Network (GLEON) buoy on West Okoboji Lake. Data will be checked for quality and uploaded to the GLEON database.

  • Continued partnership with the Friends of Lakeside - Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Project (CLAMP). This program – in its 18th year of monitoring the water quality of Dickinson County lakes – reports data throughout the summer at www.clamp1909.blogspot.com.

Other Units in Environmental Health

The Office of the Director consists of 10 key functional units that enable the State Hygienic Laboratory to achieve its statutory charge set forth in the Iowa Administrative Code.

The primary mission of the Disease Control Division is to test human specimens, food and water for diseases of public health significance to protect the citizens of Iowa.

The Environmental Health Division monitors drinking water, wastewater, air, soil and food for contaminants of potential environmental and public health concern.

The Division of Administration and Finance is responsible for the management of the business practices, all Hygienic Laboratory facilities, and pre/post testing support.