Peoria water warning: Sample exceeded safe levels of nitrates, is now safe to drink

- The city of Peoria is sending out an alert to its water customers after a sample collected from one of city's drinking wells exceeded safe levels of nitrate.

The city says the water is now safe to drink, but wants families with infants younger than 6 months and pregnant women to be especially aware.

Nitrates at this level could make an infant seriously, even fatally ill.

A Peoria well had nitrate levels of 10.8 milligrams per liter. The maximum is 10 milligrams per liter.

It is he very kind of thing you could drive by everyday and never notice -- the well in your neighborhood. This particular well is getting a lot of attention after the water  from it violated EPA safety standards for the high level of nitrate.

Jen Crawford lives in the same areas as the suspect well and says she seldom uses tap water, unless she's cooking, but is still worried.

"For myself and my immediate family, that's not a concern, but I have a lot of friends who are pregnant and have young children who live in my neighborhood.. yes, it's alarming."

Michael Weber with Peoria's Utility Department says the EPA maximum for nitrate is 10 milligrams per liter.

On November 15, well number 1 in Peoria tested nitrate levels at 10.8 milligrams per liter.

"We isolated that well immediately after first samples and recent sampling showed 1.3 milligrams per liter, so water being provided is safe and meets all standards," said Weber.

Is there anything Peoria's 60,000 water customers like Crawford should be doing?

"For customers who have infants below the age of 6 months who have stored water between the period of November 15 to 17 should dispose of that water. Nitrate is not a concern for the adult population and for children above the age of 6 months," said Weber.

News release from the city of Peoria:

On Monday, Nov. 21, Peoria received verification of a sample collected from one of the city drinking wells on Nov. 15 that showed Nitrate levels of 10.8 mg/L. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Nitrate is 10 mg/L. Once the exceedance was detected, the city shut down the area well and the issue was resolved. Currently, the nitrate levels are well below the MCL within the distribution system.

The city of Peoria monitors water quality 365 days a year, and meets all state and federal drinking water standards.  Water safety is our chief priority, and there are safeguards in place to both protect the water supply, and maintain the highest water quality standards. In summary, Peoria’s water is safe to drink.

While the violation is no longer occurring, it is important to discard any water stored between Nov. 15 through Nov. 17, including any foods that were prepared using tap water for infants 6 months and younger. Nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial or agricultural sources, including septic systems and run-off. Levels of Nitrate in drinking water can vary throughout the year.

While this issue has been corrected, the cautionary language below is consistent with federal regulations on notification.

Background on high levels of nitrate:

Who does it affect? 

• Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of 10 parts per million MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue-baby syndrome. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately. Infants cannot process nitrates like adults can.

• Adults and children older than six months can continue to drink the tap water. However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

• This notice does not pertain to the Vistancia and Quintero communities and customers in Peoria served by EPCOR, Rose Valley Water Company and Sunrise Water Company.

What do you do?

• Do not give tap water to infants less than six months of age. Use bottled water to prepare juice or formula.

• Use bottled water if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns. Boiling tap water will not make the water safe to drink.

• Please share this information with your family and neighbors who receive water from Peoria, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).

As a reminder, all city drinking water currently in our distribution system is safe to drink.

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