How do I find out if my Connecticut well is contaminated with nitrate?
To find out if there is nitrate in your domestic well water, have it tested.
It is a good idea to have a routine nitrate test at least once a year. You should also have your Connecticut water tested for nitrate if you are a woman planning on becoming pregnant or if infants will be using the water.
What if nitrate is found in my water?
If the nitrate concentration exceeds the MCL of 10 mg/L, do not give the water to any infant under 6 months of age, either directly or in formula.
- Infants should be provided with water from a source that has been tested and shown to be low in nitrate.
- Commercially bottled water is required to meet the nitrate standard and is safe for infants.
- Do not boil high nitrate water to “treat” it.
- Although it is common to think of boiling, softening or filtering as a means of purifying water, none of these methods reduce nitrate contamination.
- Boiling actually concentrates the nitrate due to evaporation of the water.
- While reverse osmosis units can be used to remove nitrates from your water, home water treatment units are not recommended for treating high nitrate water that will be given to infants.
There is no foolproof way of knowing when the treatment system may fail and blue baby syndrome has been known to occur after just one day of exposure to high nitrate water.
It is a good idea to have the well tested by a professional.
Nitrate problems are sometimes caused by structural flaws, which allow contaminated surface water to enter the well.
- Repairing the well may result in a significant reduction of the nitrate level.
Identify and remove sources of nitrate near the well. Fertilizers, animal wastes and sewage systems should be located and managed so that they do not contaminate the well.
Septic sewage systems can fail if the tank or leach field is damaged. The tank or leach field in CT can be damaged by driving over it or planting trees in or very near it.
The leach field can be damaged by covering it with a nonporous material like plastic sheeting or concrete and it can be damaged by exceeding its liquid capacity for a long period of time due to a malfunctioning water softener or a leaking toilet flush tank valve.
This type of failure can usually be identified by a wet area and odor over the leach field. Repairing the leach field will often reduce the nitrates in Connecticut drinking water to a safe level.