Development of an exposure database for nitrate contamination of private drinking-water/groundwater supplies

You are here

Project Period: 
Project Investigator(s): 
GR Hallberg, University Hygienic Laboratory
KD Rex, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Bureau, The University of Iowa

Nitrate is the most common chemical contaminant in groundwater and drinking water in Iowa. This study will provide a cost-effective method for surveillance of nitrate contamination of private drinking-water supplies that can be used for exposure assessment, epidemiological studies, and monitoring of nitrate contamination over time. The University Hygienic Laboratory database of private well-water analyses (approximately 10,000 nitrate analyses/year) will be related to the Iowa Groundwater Vulnerability Regions (GVR) using the IDNR Geographic Information System. Zip-code areas will be spatially related to the GVR units and then the UHL water-quality data will be summarized by zip-codes, by GVR unit, by well depth, and by year. This will provide a sensitive analytical tool to assess spatial and temporal differences in water quality. It is proposed that this approach be used to develop an annual report of water-quality trends in Iowa, summarizing exposure and resource implications.