Officials in Lewis warn about high Nitrate levels


July 9th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

City officials in Lewis have issued a warning to parents and others who care for infants under six-months of age, about using City water to make infant formula. The City’s Water Works says water samples received Friday, July 8th, showed nitrate levels of 11-milligrams per Liter. The samples exceeded the nitrate standard, or maximum contaminant level of 10-milligrams per Liter. Nitrate in drinking water is a serious health concern for infants less than six-months of age.

Officials say you if your home or business is served by the Lewis Water Supply, you should not give water to infants, because they could become seriously ill, and if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath, and blue baby syndrome, which is indicated by the blueness of an infant’s skin. If those systems are displayed, you should seek medical attention for the infant immediately.

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 in the Lewis area until further notice.

Officials say you should NOT boil water, as neither boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting it stand will reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can even make the nitrates more concentrated, because nitrates remain 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 it in the same way adults can). If you are pregnant, or have specific health concerns, you should consult your physician.

Officials say nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources, including septic systems and run-off. Levels of nitrates can vary throughout the year. The City will let residents and those with ties to its water system know, as soon as the amount of nitrate in the water supply is below the maximum safe limit.

The City says it’s their opinion the sample may have been taken in the wrong location, and samples will be taken on Monday, July 11th to confirm or refute the initial findings.