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Nitrate-contaminated Water

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Nitrate-contaminated Water

Grade 10 students in Pierson, Manitoba, were given a well-testing project in a horticultural and environmental studies class. Of 20 samples submitted for analysis, 12 came back with unacceptably high bacteria or nitrate level.

Grade 10 students in Pierson, Manitoba, were given a well-testing project in a horticultural and environmental studies class. Of 20 samples submitted for analysis, 12 came back with unacceptably high bacteria or nitrate levels. Another testing by a local conservation district showed 70 per cent of wells tested was contaminated. A number of the samples were well above 200 colonies of bacteria per 100 millilitres of water. The maximum acceptable level is 10, provided there are no E coli bacteria colonies present. For those more harmful bacteria, which are found in animal manure, there is no safe level.

Richard Pasquill is field services operator for the Manitoba Water Services Board in Brandon. He says extremely wet weather and light soils contributed to nitrate and bacterial contamination of wells as flood waters washed contamination down from the surface to the water table.
Manitoba Co-Operator, January 13, 2000

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