Heads Up On High Nitrates, Casco

On Jan. 11, 5 pm, the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will meet at the Expo Hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, 625 3rd St. in Luxemburg. Immediately after the meeting, Kewaunee County residents will gather to discuss their private well-water test results.

The test results are from the continuing, comprehensive study of groundwater quality in Kewaunee County that’s being conducted by the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department, funded through a Wisconsin Coastal Management grant and a donation from Peninsula Pride Farms. When the department sent out letters to private well owners last fall announcing the free well testing, it indicated it was “also targeting Casco due to higher nitrates found in the area.”

Nitrate levels of more than 10 milligrams per liter of water can cause blue-baby syndrome in infants, may increase the risk of certain cancers, may cause thyroid disease and can cause birth defects in the babies of pregnant women, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

“We are still learning about the health effects of nitrate,” the DHS indicated on its website. “Some studies have suggested that nitrate may be associated with miscarriages, diabetes, acute respiratory tract infections in children, and macular degeneration. However, additional information is needed to determine the relationship between nitrate and these effects.”

About 90% of nitrate contamination in groundwater in Wisconsin, according to the Department of Natural Resources, is due to agricultural inputs, including manure spreading and fertilizer application.

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