ADEQ issues drinking water warning

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has issued a drinking water warning, due to high levels of nitrate in Johnson Utilities water in Pinal County.

Officials with ADEQ released a statement on the issue Friday evening.

According to the statement, ADEQ officials learned Friday that drinking water test results of Johnson Utilities water exceeded Federal drinking standards for nitrate.

ADEQ officials, in the statement, said water sample results collected on October 27 and November 21 showed nitrate levels of 12 milligrams per liter and 11.4 milligrams per liter, respectively. The federal nitrate standard is 10 milligrams per liter.

Nitrate, according to the statement, can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources, including septic systems and runoff. Nitrate in drinking water, according to the statement, is a serious health concern for infants less than six months of age.

ADEQ officials said infants below six months of age who drink water with excessive nitrate could become seriously ill, with symptoms of shortness of breath and Blue Baby Syndrome.

If untreated, ADEQ officials said infants affected may die.

Adults and children over the age of six months can drink the tap water, according to officials.

ADEQ officials, according to the statement, is not able to verify whether Johnson Utilities has completed the required notification to its customers on the water quality concern. In addition, officials said they are also not able to determine what corrective action Johnson Utilities may be performing at this time.

ADEQ officials are asking residents affected to not give tap water to infants, and use bottled water or other water low in nitrates for infants. In addition, ADEQ officials said people should not boil the affected water, as it could concentrate the nitrate.

According to the statement ADEQ is urging customers who have questions to contact the company directly at (480) 998-3300.