Posted at: 06/26/2013 11:47 AM

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MPCA Blames Agriculture for Rising Nitrate Levels

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - State regulators are pointing the finger at agriculture for rising nitrate levels in the surface waters of southern Minnesota.           

The study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency finds that more than 70 percent of the nitrates in the surface water in intensively farmed southern Minnesota come from cropland.

And it says the increasing use of drain tiles - the perforated pipes farmers install a few feet under the surface of their land to carry away excess precipitation - provides the top pathway by which nitrates travel from cropland to streams.

MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine says he believes Minnesota farmers are committed to water quality protection. But he says too much nitrate is ending up in streams and rivers.