Hundreds Pack H.S. Auditorium to Learn About Nitrate Contaminated Wells

This auditorium was filled — and the panelist were timed — trying to keep an 8 o’clock deadline to finish the discussion, so a lot of people had unanswered questions, but people told me they learned a lot.

One of the big take-aways is the scope of this problem of dangerously high nitrate levels. Wood, Portage, Adams, Juneau, Waupaca and Waushara Counties were studied — and Pine Grove took the top spot with nearly 46% of the homes in that area exceeding state and federal nitrate standards. Places like Armenia had levels 7 times the standard.

Keith Iverson from Armenia says he’s tested his water for the last 30 years — trying to find solutions himself — as his levels have never been in a safe range.

“I’m here asking them if they’ve got some magic pill we can drop down the well that will solve all of this. I want to solve something that I can make my pot of coffee in the morning and not concentrate the nitrates when I boil it,” says Iverson.

He says he was encouraged to hear farmers say they are looking at ways they can be as efficient as possible with their nitrate output — along with legislators who said they will be rolling out a package of bills next week to start to fix this problem.

A lot of the researchers and farmers said the solutions and the knowledge are already there to help solve this problem. However weather, some legal technicalities and the realities verses the farm technology goals make those solutions more difficult to obtain.

The good news is they’re all taking steps forward.

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Report: Wells in Japan Show High Levels of Water Contamination

Jan. 6 (UPI) — Harmful chemicals showing contamination 19 times the level set by U.S. drinking safety standards were found in a well near Yokota Air Base, where U.S. troops are stationed in Japan.

The findings are from the city of Tokyo’s health and welfare bureau, which analyzed water samples collected from the well in January 2019, the Asahi Shimbun reported Monday.

The analysis indicates high levels of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, or PFOS, and Perfluorooctanoic Acid, or PFOA, are present in the water; the examinations took place after a British journalist filed a report in 2018 regarding a “firefighting foam” leakage from a storage tank at Yokota Air Base in 2012, according to the Asahi.

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Drinking Water Under Threat: Water Contamination Risks This Bushfire Season

Regional and metropolitan areas around NSW [New South Wales, Australia] are facing water quality concerns in the face of the bushfire crisis.

In some areas of the state, drinking water treatment plants have been physically damaged by fire or impacted by fire-related power outages, causing a loss of drinkable tap water.

A reduction in water quality may also affect metropolitan areas, as ash and sediment may be washed into major water catchments such as Warragamba Dam.

“Fires have severely and extensively burnt major drinking water catchments for Sydney and the Shoalhaven region in NSW,” says Professor Stuart Khan, Professor in the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney.

“The loss of trees and groundcover has made the soil more vulnerable to erosion. When the next big rainfall event comes along, runoff will wash a lot of that ash into waterways and dams.”

A downpour of around 100mm in a short period of time would qualify as such an event. Rain would also wash in other contaminants, such as building debris, dead animals, and pollutants from fire retardant.

In bushfire-affected areas, Professor Khan says the destruction of water infrastructure is a more immediate concern.

“Drinking water treatment plants in fire zones have been losing power and taking damage. Some have lost the ability to pump or properly treat water.”

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