EPA’s Watershed Academy webinar: Nitrate in Ground Water

March 23, 2011 | Population, Rural

Join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a webcast titled "Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Series: Nitrate in Ground Water" on Tuesday March 29, 2011, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm (EDT). This webcast will highlight an emerging issue of increased nitrate loading to ground water, a growing national concern. According to EPA’s most recent data, public water systems using ground water as a drinking source serve over 300 million people nationwide. The total number of people drinking ground water increases when factoring in households supplied by private drinking water wells. Ground water can become contaminated by nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) leaching from the land surface into the ground water supply.

In a September 2010 report, “Nutrients in the Nation’s Streams and Groundwater,” the U.S. Geological Survey monitored and documented nitrate levels above 10 mg/L, which is the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations through the Safe Drinking Water Act, in over 20 percent of shallow household wells in agricultural areas. Additionally, from 1998 to 2008, the number of nitrate violations recorded at public water systems around the country has nearly doubled. Surface sources of drinking water are also at risk. For example, stormwater runoff can carry nutrients directly to rivers, lakes and reservoirs – some of which are used as drinking water supplies. Capital costs to remove nitrates from public water systems or to provide alternative water supplies for individual households can be very high, with some communities spending millions of dollars.

The webcast will provide a national overview of the nitrate in ground water issue and highlight a case study in Oregon’s Southern Willamette Valley. This webcast is a second in a series of Watershed Academy Webcasts on the impacts of nutrients on water resources.

Participants are encouraged to download the presentation, which will be posted prior to the webcast.

More information on the webcast, including the presentation, information on speakers, and to register

More information on nitrates in drinking water