Article courtesy of Dorian Galindo | Sep 22, 2015 |NBC | Shared as educational material
LOWER YAKIMA VALLEY, WA – People in the lower Yakima valley need to be monitoring wells for high nitrate levels. And they’re taking action through an initiative to research and put an end to the problem. There are a couple things people can do to help.
You don’t think too much when you go to the sink for a glass of water. But what happens when you find out that water is contaminated?
“Areas in the lower Yakima valley had elevated nitrate…”said Yakima County Public Services senior manager Lisa Freund
Nitrate that was discovered sooner than later. Since the early 2000s studies have shown nitrate levels in well water in the lower Yakima valley were noticeably high. An initiative started by the state department of ecology, the EPA and Yakima county to manage the issue, was created. The lower Yakima ground water management area, or GWMA (‘gwama’) was formed in 2011 to study and end the nitrate problem. Today, with the help of the Yakima health department, GWMA is reaching out to the people of the lower valley
“We have a survey that’s 15 questions long and we’re also taking bacteria and nitrate samples…” said Yakima Health Department director Ryan Ibach “We’ve gotten 60… 65 people who have called in.”
Samples that will be used to find a way to clear nitrate from the water. Nitrate can cause things like blue baby syndrome, an illness that can affect the oxygen intake of infants. Ryan Ibach has seen a response from citizens and encourages everyone in the Lower Yakima Valley to take the survey.
The survey is simple and only requires you to fill out this sheet and provide samples of your water in containers like this. Samples are sent to a laboratory and data collected will help GWMA figure out a way to contain the problem. With no reports of any nitrate effects on people in the Lower Yakima Valley, the health department and GWMA continue to push for feedback.
“We have folks that are interested, eager to get their wells tested, eager to find solutions to the causes of ground water contamination. Others, they’re not impacted. It’s not of great interest so its really across the board.” said Freund
GWMA plans to continue research through 2017 free well testing is going on now if you live in the lower valley. You can schedule a testing through the Yakima health district