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EWG: NITRATE POLLUTION OF DRINKING WATER FOR MORE THAN 20 MILLION AMERICANS IS GETTING WORSE
Source: EWG news release

To view the complete report, click here.

In much of America's farm country, nitrate contamination of drinking water, largely caused by polluted runoff from crop fields, poses a serious health risk - and the problem is getting worse, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data from 10 states.

Our investigation found that in the water of more than 2,100 utilities with the most serious problems, nitrate contamination has grown steadily worse. These community water systems1 serve almost 21 million people across vast stretches of the Midwest, Southwest, Atlantic Coast and California.

Data obtained under public records laws shows that between 2003 and 2017, tests detected elevated levels of nitrate in the tap water supplies of more than 4,000 community water systems in the states with the most widespread contamination - California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

Those water systems supply tap water for more than 45 million Americans. Each of the systems was contaminated with nitrate at or above 3 milligrams per liter, or mg/L, at least once in those 15 years. The Environmental Protection Agency considers 3 mg/L in groundwater used for drinking water an indication of contamination above naturally occurring levels.2

In 52 percent of those communities, serving 20.7 million people, nitrate contamination is getting worse. In California, Kansas and Texas, it's getting worse in almost 60 percent of the communities with elevated nitrate levels.


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