"Kansas Town Faces Big Bill to Clean Drinking Water"

"In farm country, the cost of nitrate pollution often falls on towns."

"Pretty Prairie, home to 650 people on the southern Kansas plains, is a one-well town. And that well is giving the town fits.

The 30-meter-deep (100-foot) borehole draws water from a slice of the Equus Beds aquifer that has shown increasing levels of nitrate, a chemical that can be deadly for infants. Nitrate occurs naturally in soil, but it also entered the region’s groundwater from fertilizers applied to wheat, soybean, and sorghum fields. For two decades, Pretty Prairie has violated the federal nitrate standard.

State and federal regulators for years allowed Pretty Prairie to comply with the standard by handing out bottled water to families at risk. With nitrate levels now double the federal limit, regulators are demanding stricter action. Like other towns in farm country, Pretty Prairie faces a big bill for a problem it did not cause."

Brett Walton reports for Circle of Blue January 9, 2017.

Source: Circle of Blue, 01/12/2017