News Releases

Nitrate Contamination Raises Concerns over Minnesota’s Drinking Water

Lisle, Illinois – Nitrate levels present in the Minnesota’s drinking water supply are cause for concern, according to the state’s Annual Drinking Water Report, which was released last week. The report, which was compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), shows that as much as 10 percent of the state’s non-community drinking water systems contain elevated levels of nitrate. Approximately 600 of the state’s 6,000 non-community systems have groundwater sources that have been affected by nitrate. 

Elevated levels of nitrate in drinking water sources are known to cause adverse health effects in human beings. Water sources contaminated with nitrate can pose health threats to infants less than six months of age. Infants exposed to nitrate are susceptible to methemoglobinemia, or “Blue Baby Syndrome,” which interferes with the ability of the infant’s blood to carry oxygen. This condition, in some cases, can be fatal. Pregnant women, individuals with reduced stomach acidity, and people with certain blood disorders may also be susceptible to nitrate-induced methemoglobinemia.

While the majority of Minnesota’s public water supplies provide safe drinking water, nitrate contamination poses a threat to source waters. The MDH reported that 14 Minnesota communities have nitrate levels that exceed health standards prior to treatment of the groundwater. Another 61 communities water systems have elevated nitrate levels in their source water. These systems are working with MDH staff to remedy the problem water supplies before nitrate levels exceed health standards. As much as 10 percent of small, non-community systems that supply drinking water for schools, lodging and businesses have elevated levels of nitrate.

Nitrate contamination can come from various sources, including fertilizers, manure, septic systems and natural decomposition of organic matter. The MDH report suggests that taking action such as drilling a new well, installing a treatment system or connecting to another public water system are all viable options for removing nitrate from drinking water supplies.

If you suspect that your water source may be contaminated by nitrate, or wish to have your water supply tested, the Water Quality Association (WQA) offers resources to help you find a water treatment provider or product that can reduce and/or remove nitrate.


About the Water Quality Association
The Water Quality Association (WQA) is a not-for-profit association for the residential commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. WQA represents more than 2,500 member companies around the globe. Our membership is comprised of equipment manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and distributors of water quality improvement products and services. WQA proudly serves as an educator of water treatment professionals, certifier of water treatment products, public information resource and voice of the water quality improvement industry.

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