City water shows high nitrate levels

On Monday afternoon, the city of Canton issued a notice concerning the high levels of nitrate in the city tap water.

Do not give the water to infants under six months old or use it to make infant formula.

A water sample collected on Jan. 29 showed a nitrate level of 24 mg/L. This is above the federal nitrate standard, or maximum contaminant level of 10 mg/L. Nitrate in drinking water is a serious health concern from infants less than six months old.

What to do:

— Do not give the water to infants.

Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of 10 mg/L could become seriously ill, and if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome, which is indicated by blueness of the skin. Symptoms in infants can develop rapidly, with health deteriorating over a period of days. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.

— Water, juice and formula for children under six months of age should not be prepared with tap water. Bottled water or other water low in nitrates should be used for infants until further notice.

— Do not boil the water.

Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrated more concentrated, as nitrates remain when the water evaporates.

— Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water. Nitrates are a concern for infants because they cannot process nitrates in the same way adults can. However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you man with to consult your doctor.

What is being done:

Nitrates in drinking water can come from natural, industrial or agricultural sources, including septic systems and run-off. Levels of nitrate in drinking water can vary throughout the year. The city will notify residents when the nitrate levels are below the limit.

The city will retest water and is consulting with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

For more information, contact the city at 620-628-4916 or by mail at 100 S. Main, PO Box 476, Canton KS 67428