Des Moines Water Works says nitrate levels drop

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Des Moines Water Works says nitrate levels have dropped in the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers and the agency has ended its request for customers to reduce water use.

The agency had to activate its nitrate removal facility at a daily cost of $7,000 because nitrate levels spiked in the two rivers that provide drinking water to about 500,000 people in the Des Moines area. Readings topped the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contamination level for months, thanks largely to fertilizer runoff from farm fields.

High nitrate levels can be deadly to children younger than 6 months old because the chemical can reduce the amount of oxygen carried in their blood.

Maintaining safe water cost Des Moines Water Works about $525,000. Those costs will be passed along to customers.

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