Nitrate advisory in Columbus lifted

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UPDATE: The nitrate advisory issued for parts of downtown and west Columbus has been canceled. Customers of the City of Columbus Dublin Road Water Plant were notified last week about high levels of nitrate in the drinking water.

The City of Columbus says the results of the most recent water samples show nitrate levels below the nitrate standard or maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per million.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

Elevated levels of nitrates have been found in several areas around Franklin County.

The Columbus Division of Water says areas impacted by the nitrate advisory include portions of downtown, west and southwest Columbus; Grandview Heights, Grove City, Hilliard, Lincoln Village, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington, Urbancrest and Valleyview.

FAQ: Nitrates & The Risks To Your Health

Thursday’s reading registered 10.5 parts per million at the Dublin Road Plant. The acceptable level of nitrates in the water is 10 parts per million.

Water supplied to the rest of the Columbus water distribution system does not contain elevated nitrate levels.

The city is warning residents who live in the designated service area and have an infant below the age of six months to use bottled water to use in baby formula, juice or cereal. Pregnant women in these areas who are over 30 weeks pregnant should also avoid drinking tap water or any beverages made from tap water. Those who have medical conditions or take prescriptions that may involve a nitrate concern should consult their doctor.

The city also alerts residents not to boil tap water, as it could increase nitrate levels.

“We do not want people boiling the water and believe that by boiling the tap water that they have improved the situation which in fact boiling the water concentrates the nitrates,” Columbus Health Commissioner Teresa Long said.

However, healthy adults and older children can consume higher levels of nitrates because they have fully developed digestive systems. It is also safe for pets.

The cause of the elevated nitrate levels in the Scioto River is believed to be related to last week’s major storm and resulting stormwater runoff from rural and urban areas.

Officials say the advisory is in effect until further notice.

“Some people may ask ‘how long will this advisory go on?’” Rick Westerfield, head of Columbus Division of Water said. “it's going to go on for at least to a few days to several days depending on how much of rain event we get in this watershed of the Scioto River.”

More than a year ago, fertilizer was to blame for a spike in nitrates in central Ohio’s drinking water. The National Weather Service said at least three inches of rain pounded the town of Prospect in Marion County in June 2015, causing significant runoff and causing the Scioto River to flow 20 times faster than normal. It took several days for the fertilizer to make its way south to the Dublin plant.

If you live in affected area with high nitrates and need bottled water, call 614-221-2255.

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