What to do about nitrates in well water

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Greg Peck
July 5, 2013

As reporter Gina Duwe reported in Monday’s Gazette, levels of nitrates in well water around Rock County have risen the past two years, including a spike in tests this year.

Health officials say nitrates are too high if they’re at 10 parts per million or more. That level can harm infants. Pregnant women can be at risk of so-called blue baby syndrome. Over long periods, nitrates can cause some cancers.

This development is not good news for the overall health of county residents. The latest annual survey of health risks, released in March, placed Rock at a paltry 62nd out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Key factors were our rates of obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy and adult smoking. All outpace statewide averages. The analysis considers not just personal behaviors but also the physical environment, including safe drinking water. The rise in nitrates won’t bode well for the next survey.

So what is causing the surge in nitrate levels, and what can you do to protect yourself and your family from harm? We’ll explain in our editorial Saturday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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