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May 14

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Nitrates in Rural Wells

If well water is contaminated by fertilizer runoff, septic discharges, or animal waste, it could put babies at risk. Consider this:

Water Sample credit Swistock

Test your well-water for nitrates! (via Bryan Swistock)

Nitrate is a natural chemical compound present in almost all water, but high levels in fertilizer runoff, septic discharges, or animal waste can leach into groundwater. If it gets into drinking water, it puts infants at risk for blue-baby syndrome, a condition preventing them from getting enough oxygen.

Bryan Swistock of Penn State Extension says nitrate is not absorbed through the skin.

Swistock: “You can shower in the water.”

But if levels are high, use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Nitrate has no smell or taste, so the only way to know if you have a problem is to have your well tested. Boiling does not help, so water treatment may be the only solution if you have nitrate in your water.

Hear More:

Bryan Swistock describes ways to avoid the dangers of nitrates in your well water.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/nitrates-in-rural-wells/