SPOKANE - High Nitrate Levels Found in Water

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Monday, March 20, 2000, 11:37 p.m. Pacific

High nitrate levels found in water

by The Associated Press

SPOKANE - A ground-water study has found that nearly a quarter of the wells in three Eastern Washington counties have nitrate concentrations exceeding drinking-water standards.

Twenty-three percent of 574 wells sampled in Adams, Franklin and Grant counties exceeded Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to results of a 2 1/2-year survey the U.S. Geological Survey released Saturday.

Ground-water nitrates, while not usually a threat to healthy adults, have been linked to a potentially fatal blood disease called methemoglobinemia that affects infants. It can lead to lethargy, mental retardation and death if left untreated.

The most common source of exposure for infants is believed to be drinking water used to dilute baby formula.

A local ground-water-management program is more closely scrutinizing use of fertilizers, believed to be the primary source of nitrate pollution.

Copyright ) 2000 The Seattle Times Company http://www.seattletimes.com/news/local/html98/fill_20000320.html

-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 20, 2000

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