Nitrate in Minnesota Drinking Water

You’ve likely heard about nitrate before, as this compound is common in certain foods we eat and is used in fertilizers across the country to help grow lush, green landscapes. Since both humans and animals consume nitrate on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that this naturally occurring compound is now found in many man-made sources, as well. 

Nitrate (also referred to as nitrate-nitrogen) becomes a problem when high concentrations of this compound seep into the groundwater, contaminating nearby wells that provide townships with their drinking water supply. 

What Causes High Levels of Nitrate?

Though nitrate naturally occurs in lakes, groundwater, and rivers across the state of Minnesota, its level becomes elevated from human land use and activities, including:

  • Landfills
  • Septic systems
  • Animal waste (i.e. feedlots)
  • Urban drainage
  • Fertilized soil runoff

In fact, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports that approximately 4% of private wells constructed after the early 1990s have nitrate levels higher than 3 mg/L. And though this is below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) requirement of 10 mg/L, experts believe this is a direct result of man-made sources and will likely increase nitrate contamination in drinking water over time. 

Are Nitrates In Drinking Water Harmful?

Though every person should never consume more than the EPA recommended amount of nitrate (i.e., 10 mg/L), infants under six months old should especially avoid it, as this age group is at greater risk of developing methemoglobinemia—a condition that disrupts the natural flow of oxygen being carried to your blood cells. 

Other serious health issues that can develop from drinking high amounts of nitrate may include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gastric cancer

MN Areas Impacted by High Levels of Nitrate

Though every person should never consume more than the EPA recommended amount of nitrate (i.e., 10 mg/L), infants under six months old should especially avoid it, as this age group is at greater risk of developing methemoglobinemia—a condition that disrupts the natural flow of oxygen being carried to your blood cells. 

Other regions in the state reported nitrate levels greater than 10 mg/L, as well, but the following areas well exceeded the standard, creating serious health risks for residents:

Nitrate in Dakota County, MN

In 2013 and 2015, the township of Marshan was tested for nitrate. Of the 95 wells tested, 42 (44.2%) contained more than the recommended level.

Nitrate in Morrison County, MN

Also in 2013 and 2015, the township of Agram was tested for nitrate. Of the 93 wells tested, 42 (47.3%) contained more than the recommended level.

Nitrate in Winona County, MN

In 2016 and 2017, the township of Fermont was tested for nitrate. Of the 28 wells tested, 12 (42.9%) contained more than the recommended level.

To learn which other counties have reported higher concentrations of nitrate levels, check out the Township Testing Program’s map of the state or view final testing results (as of February 2021) here.

Free Water Analysis

Aquarius will come to your home and test your water for a variety of issues such as contaminants, hardness, minerals, chlorine, sediment and more. For Free. No obligation. Learn what is in your home’s water today.

How to Treat Nitrate in Drinking Water

The only way to effectively remove high amounts of nitrate from your home’s water supply is to invest in a quality water filtration system. As certified dealers of Kinetico, we offer a large selection of quality filtration products to help you remove both natural and man-made contaminates from your drinking water. 

Because every home is different, you may decide on one or multiple Kinetico products to help you solve any number of water issues. It’s also important to test your water for nitrate every other year, so you can ensure it’s safe for consumption.  

At Aquarius Home Services, Our team can travel to your home to perform an in-home test and provide you with a breakdown of the contaminants in your water supply. Afterward, we’ll provide you with a customized solution to help treat and improve the quality of your drinking water for good!  

High Levels of Nitrate in Minnesota Counties

Whether you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you may be dealing with a variety of water issues that range from arsenic and manganese to nitrate. The best way to understand the type of chemicals and contamination you’re dealing with is with a free, at-home water test

To get one scheduled, contact us today!

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