Local groups asking the EPA to step in over groundwater concerns

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(ABC 6 News) – Advocacy groups are calling it “An imminent and substantial threat to human health.”

This in reference to alarmingly high nitrate levels in southeast Minnesota groundwater.

Consuming too much nitrate can be dangerous. In extreme cases drinking water with high levels of nitrate can turn your skin blue and cause series illness or death. Local efforts haven’t lowered the level of nitrate in our groundwater. so now, several groups are asking the Environment Protection Agency to take emergency action.

“The region we are asking the EPA to step in is has this unique geology. It has this carts geology, and it has this pours limestone and can allow pollutants to fill into the ground ater rapidly,” Leigh Currie with the Minnesota Center of Environmental Advocacy said.

The group is leading the effort to get the EPA to help residents in Southern Minnesota get safe drinking water.

The nitrate contaminates come from fertilizers used in agriculture. That then soak into the ground and contaminate aquifers used for wells.

“Some of the well tests we did came back as high as 68 milligrams per liter so almost seven times what’s considered a safe limit,” Currie said.

Jeff Broberg lives near St. Charles and is also the director of the Minnesota Well Owners Organization They are one of the groups petitioning the EPA to help them get safe drinking water.

“My well is 400 feet deep. It’s old. I believe it’s 110 years old. It’s highly contaminated, it wasn’t when I bought the farm 35 years ago,” Broberg said..

He says that he invests hundreds of dollars a year for a special filtration system.

“But if the contamination gets too high my treatment system isn’t effective,” Broberg said.

Jeff says that to replace a well will cost him $50,000.

“We just think it’s time to have a set of eyes step in and look at the real source and potential solutions. And plan and come up with a way to have safe water at everyone’s kitchen sink,” said Broberg.