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Yakima County's Nitrate
Treatment Pilot Program

Providing water treatment systems, education and technical assistance to households with individuals at high public health risk from nitrate contaminated wells.

Eligibility FAQ's

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Who is eligible for this program?

You are eligible if you live in a home located in the Lower Yakima Basin pilot project area, have a high nitrate level in your private well above 10 parts per million, and you or someone in your household is considered at high public health risk.

What is nitrate?

Nitrate is a chemical found in fertilizers, manure and septic tank liquids. Rain or irrigation water can carry nitrate down through the soil into groundwater. Your drinking water may contain nitrate if your well draws from this groundwater.

Who is considered a high public health risk from nitrate?

Children less than 12 months of age, pregnant women, or individuals susceptible to health problems from nitrate (as documented by their healthcare provider).

Why are pregnant women, infants and others at high public risk?

Nitrate is a potential human health threat especially to infants, causing the condition known as methemoglobinemia, also called "blue baby syndrome." Nitrate is taken in by eating food and drinking water. Nitrate is converted in the gut to nitrite, which then combines with hemoglobin to form methemoglobin, thus decreasing the ability of the blood to carry oxygen.  Infants are more susceptible to nitrate toxicity than older children or adults. Fatalities are rare, but sub-acute methemoglobinemia can be limiting or asymptotic to an infant’s development, making the condition particularly harmful and permanently debilitating. Chronic consumption of high levels of nitrate may also cause other health problems for those who have low resistance to infection.

How can I be considered for a free or low-cost treatment system? 

To have a system installed at a reduced cost, you must show that nitrate in your water is greater than 10 parts per million.  To be considered for a free system, you must also have someone in your home who is considered a high public health risk from nitrates—i.e., children less than 12 months of age, pregnant women, or individuals susceptible to health problems from nitrate, as documented by their healthcare provider.