Screening will check for nitrates in well water

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2002

The county and Minnesota Department of Agriculture will conduct free nitrate testing for drinking water at the fairgrounds on July 30.

The drinking water standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Public Health Service define water with more than 10 ppm nitrate as unsafe for human consumption. Infants younger than six months old can get &uot;blue baby syndrome&uot; because of excessive nitrate intake, which might result in death.

Besides being produced in the decomposition of organics such as plants and animal waste, Nitrates are also found in fertilizers. A state study shows that 5 to 25 percent of drinking wells in the state have an excessive level of nitrates.

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The free test is targeting residents in the rural area. Wells in the City of Albert Lea and other incorporated cities are inspected before going into the waterworks.

The test will be between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the 4-H building at the fairgrounds. The water should be sampled in a glass jar or Ziplock-type plastic bag with a label. The sample should be cool upon arrival. The test takes about five minutes.