The nitrate contamination of private well water in Iowa.

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Monday, February 1, 1993
BC Kross
GR Hallberg
DR Bruner
K Cherryholmes
JK Johnson
Journal Title: 
American Journal of Public Health

The State-Wide Rural Well-Water Survey was conducted between April 1988 and June 1989. About 18% of Iowa's private, rural drinking-water wells contain nitrate above the recommended health advisory level (levels of NO3-N greater than 10 mg/L); 37% of the wells have levels greater than 3 mg/L, typically considered indicative of anthropogenic pollution. Thirty-five percent of wells less than 15 m deep exceed the health advisory level, and the mean concentration of nitrate-nitrogen for these wells exceeds 10 mg/L. Depth of well is the best predictor of well-water contamination. Individually, NO3-N levels of more than 10 mg/L occurred alone in about 4% of the private wells statewide; pesticides were present alone in about 5%. Total coliform positives occurred alone at 27% of the sites. In a cumulative sense, these three contaminants were detected in nearly 55% of rural private water supplies.


Kross BC, Hallberg GR, Bruner DR, Cherryholmes K, Johnson JK. The nitrate contamination of private well water in Iowa. American Journal of Public Health. 1993 Feb;83(2):270-2.