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Introduction How Rivers Run Stories Value Of A River What We Can Do
Quality of a River - Water Quality
Nutrients: Phosphorus and nitrogen (pg 2 of 2)


High concentrations of nitrogen (in the form of nitrate) in drinking water can restrict oxygen transport in the human bloodstream, causing methehemoglobinemia, commonly called "blue baby syndrome." Such exceedingly high concentrations of nitrate are usually the result of an excess of chemical fertilizers and manure from farm operations. Nitrate enters streams and shallow aquifers.

Nitrate pollution threatens human health particularly in farmland areas where residents draw drinking water from shallow, contaminated wells. (Drinking water is rarely drawn from farmland streams, and municipal water treatment plants, drawing water from larger streams, remove nitrates.)

For information on sewage and septic systems, search for Independent Sewage Treatment System (ISTS) or Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) at www.pca.state.mn.us.

(Ryan and Durning, 1997)


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