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Free nitrate testing clinic draws 150 residents with water samples

Published 07/28/2010, Park Rapids Enterprise

Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Minnesota ag department conducted a free nitrate testing clinic July 23 in Park Rapids. Residents were asked to bring two cups of water in a sterilized container for analysis. Lawrence Garber , who brought in a sample, said last year, his nitrate level on Long Lake measured 16 parts per million, more than the 10 ppm considered safe for drinking. This year his sample measured 19 ppm. Nitrate contamination in local wells has been steadily rising due to farmers and homeowners fertilizing the ground. It has necessitated the closure of two city wells and drilling a new deep water well for city residents. “Year to year that much movement isn’t alarming,” ag department water quality advisor Luke Stuewe told Garber. “But if it trends longer term it could be a problem.” Tests revealed 12 percent came in higher than recommended levels of nitrates, with the highest sample registering in the mid-30s ppm.

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