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Health officials to hold public meetings in southeast Minnesota to discuss nitrate in drinking water

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) invites private well owners in southeastern Minnesota to attend a public meeting in their area to learn about what is being done to address health concerns about nitrate in drinking water.

Porous geology makes wells in southeastern Minnesota especially susceptible to nitrate contamination from fertilizer, manure, wastewater and faulty septic systems. Consuming too much nitrate can cause babies to develop methomoglobinemia (also known as blue baby syndrome), which can be fatal.

MDH has scheduled three in-person meetings and one virtual meeting. Each in-person meeting will include a presentation from MDH along with an open house during which attendees can ask MDH and partner staff specific questions.

The in-person meeting dates and locations are:

• Stewartville — Wednesday, June 12

Open house from 5 to 8 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m.

Stewartville Community Center 105 First St. E., Stewartville, Minn. 55976

• Rushford — Wednesday, June 26

Open house from 4 to 8 p.m., presentation at 6:30 p.m.

Rushford – Peterson Public School, 1000 Pine Meadows Lane, Rushford, Minn. 55971

Free nitrate screening will be available starting at 4 p.m. Bring a sample of your private well drinking water from your kitchen tap in a clean glass jar to have it screened for nitrates. This service is provided by Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District.

• Mazeppa — Thursday, June 27

Open house from 5 to 8 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m.

Mazeppa Community Center, 278 First Ave. N., Mazeppa, Minn. 55956

For those who cannot attend in person, a virtual meeting will take place on Thursday, June 20, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Join the MDH EPA Response Public Meeting in Teams.

On Nov. 3, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requested that MDH, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture develop a coordinated and comprehensive work plan to reduce nitrate contamination of drinking water aquifers in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.

More information about how MDH has responded to the EPA can be found on MDH’s website at MDH Response to Southeast Minnesota EPA Requests.

If you have questions, please contact health.privatewells@state.mn.us.

-MDH-

 

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