Drinking water to be tested for nitrates in Van Buren Co.

Southwest Michigan
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PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials in Van Buren County will be testing drinking water for nitrates this week. 

The Van Buren Conservation District and Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program will be testing water from private water systems this week. The water screening is free and open to residents on non-municipal systems, but limited to 150 samples for the week.

The screenings are for nitrates and nitrites which commonly appear in drinking water around agricultural communities. Nitrates and Nitrites in drinking water can result from nitrogen use on farm fields or treated lawns.

Nitrate is a compound that is formed naturally when nitrogen combines with oxygen or ozone. Nitrogen is essential for all living things, but high levels of nitrate in drinking water can be dangerous to health, especially for infants and pregnant women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Residents who want to test their water are told to pick a tap that supplies water that has not run through any treatment devices. An outdoor faucet often works well.

Run the water for 20-30 minutes before collecting the sample.  This will give the pump time to flush the water pressure tank and plumbing so you can collect a valid sample.  Disconnect any hoses before collecting the sample; do not sample through a hose.  Rinse the sample bottle and lid thoroughly in the water to be sampled; then fill and cap the bottle.

Label the bottle clearly with your name, the sample date and the well name using a waterproof pen. Samples can be taken in any clean container, such as a baby food jar, water bottle, or another capped container.

Deliver the sample within 24 hours and keep the sample dark and cold until it is dropped off at the VBCD office located at 1035 East Michigan Avenue in Paw Paw.

Any questions about water screening, water collections, nitrites/nitrates or the MAEAP program can be directed to Kyle Mead, MAEAP technician, at 269.657.4030 ext5.  

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