City of Belle Plaine issues drinking water warning


BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Belle Plaine issued a drinking water warning Wednesday due to possible high levels of Nitrate in the water. The city cautioned residents to not give the water to infants under 6 months of age or use the water to make infant formula.

According to the city, a water sample collected on Jan. 5 showed a nitrate level of 12 mg/L. This is above the federal nitrate standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), of 10 mg/L.

The city of Belle Plaine said they have collected a confirmation sample and will notify residents of the results when it becomes available within the next 30 days.

In the meantime, the city of Belle Plaine has advised the following precautions:

  • Do not give the water to infants. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Nitrate is an acute toxin to infants less than six months of age. In infants, it can cause a condition known as methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome” which can be fatal. The most obvious symptom is a bluish skin coloring, especially around the eyes and mouth. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. An infant with bluish skin should be taken immediately to a medical facility for treatment. It is safe to bathe or shower in tap water with elevated nitrate levels.
    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 until further notice.
  • Do not boil the water. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrates more concentrated because nitrates remain behind 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 nitrates in the same way adults can). However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

Nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources (including septic systems and run-off).

For more information on the City of Belle Plaine and the issued warning, click here.

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