High levels of nitrates in tap water reported in Erie, Illinois

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Public works officials in the Village of Erie are warning residents not to give infants the tap water due to high levels of nitrates. Officials say a water sample showed nitrate levels of 10.4, above the standard of 10 milligrams per liter.

The results were received by the village Friday, September 30th.

Officials say nitrate in drinking water is a serious health concern for children under 6-months-old and should not be given to children or used in formula. Symptoms of nitrate illness include shortness of breath, blue baby syndrome, which is indicated by blueness of the skin.

Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water; it is only dangerous for infants because they can’t process nitrates the way adults can, according to the Village of Erie’s Public Works Director. Boiling, freezing, filtering and letting water stand does not chance the nitrate levels. Excessive boiling can make the nitrates more concentrated.

Erie leaders are working to get a grant from the USDA to install nitrate filtration, as the nitrate numbers in the area have been growing during recent years. Bottled water will be made available free of charge for households with children 6 months or younger, or pregnant residents.

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