Officials warn of high nitrate levels in drinking wells around Armenia
ARMENIA - High nitrate levels in private wells in Juneau and Wood counties have caused health departments to issue a warning.
The high nitrate levels have been found in private drinking water wells in the Armenia area, according to a news release from the Wood County Health Department. High nitrate levels are a health risk particularly for babies less than 6 months old and women who are pregnant.
The Wood and Juneau County health departments are advising women who may be pregnant to stop using the high-nitrate water for drinking or preparing foods.
The departments also advise everyone to avoid drinking water with high nitrate levels. It is OK to use the water for showering and household chores, according to the news release. Long-term drinking of water high in nitrates can lead to thyroid problems, diabeties and certain cancers.
In May, the Juneau and Wood County health and land and water departments partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to conduct a survey of nitrate levels in private wells to address concerns by residents in the Armenia area, according to the news release.
High nitrate levels are often caused by agricultural runoff. In May, the Environmental Protection Agency began a large-scale project to drill wells in Juneau County near a large dairy farm to test for elevated levels of nitrates and other contamination, according to state and federal officials.
Tests showed that 41 percent of the total wells tested had nitrate levels above the groundwater standard, Juneau County Health Officer Barb Theis said in the news release. The statewide average for wells with high nitrate levels is 9 percent, Thiel said.
Theis advised residents with high nitrate levels to use bottled water to assure a safe source of water for drinking and cooking.