Nitrate Levels Rising In Minnesota Rural Water Utilities

Manure application. ( Farm Journal, Inc. )

Nitrate levels in 72 of 115 rural Minnesota public utilities have risen since 1995. The increase, from an average of 2.7 parts per million (PPM) in 1995 to 4.4 in 2018, is still below the Federal limit of 10 ppm.

The increases are being seen in southern and central Minnesota, home to much of the state’s agriculture. While environmentalists are raising the alarm about the increased nitrate levels, state officials do not share that view.

“There is not scientific consensus that exposure to nitrate levels below 10 mg/L results in adverse health effects,” Scott Smith, with the Minnesota Department of Health told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Nevertheless, the state is implementing its new Groundwater Protection Rule, which sets fall application nitrogen application restrictions. Those rules have come under scrutiny because they only cover a portion of the state’s cropland.