Sample testing underway for city Well 21

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe

Sample testing is being done for city Well 21 which has shown a maximum nitrate level allowed for city water supplies.

According to city officials, on April 6 the city was notified of the nitrate level and a quality sample was collected for testing.

In that time, Well 21 had been shut off until confirmation is made that it is safe to use.

“Currently, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment requires us to test our water system for nitrates on an annual basis,” said director of Public Works Corey Keller. “We perform other water quality tests weekly that are also done through KDHE. This particular well that tested at the maximum allowance of nitrate contaminants only accounted for 2% of the total water distribution from our system in 2020 and less than one-half percent of water distribution so far in 2021.”

It is advised that consumers refrain from using the water for infants less than six months old, if they are nursing, or if they are pregnant for the time being.

Keller added that the well's primarily used when water demand is high. Going forward the well will be put on standby status and used for emergencies only.

The city will have bottled water available for people. To pick up water, call 620-225-8100.

The results of the testing sample will be made within the next 30 days.

During that time, the city offered information on what consumers can do as precautions:

  • DO NOT GIVE THE WATER TO INFANTS. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Nitrate is an acute toxin to infants less than six months of age. In infants, it can cause a condition known as methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome” which can be fatal. The most obvious symptom is a bluish skin coloring, especially around the eyes and mouth. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. An infant with bluish skin should be taken immediately to a medical facility for treatment. It is safe to bathe or shower in tap water with elevated nitrate levels.
  • 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 nitrates more concentrated, because nitrates remain behind when the water evaporates.
  • Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water (nitrate is 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 may wish to consult your doctor.

For more information, contact Public Works at 620-225-8170 or by mail at 806 2nd Ave., PO BOX 880, Dodge City, KS 67801.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com