ASSUMPTION, Ill. (WCIA) — The city is warning people not to let children six months or younger drink the water because it could cause serious health problems.
EPA test results revealed an unsafe amount of nitrate in the water. The safety standard for nitrate in drinking water is set at a maximum of 10 milligrams per liter. Test results showed Assumption’s level at 10.7.
If infants less than six months old drink water with high levels of nirate, their bodies aren’t able to process it and can eventually prevent blood from dispersing oxygen.
There’s no boil order. It is ok for people six months and older to drink it.
But the city wants to make sure pregnant women and kids less than six months old avoid it entirely.
Lodged inside the doors of homes in Assumption are warning notices. Mayor Donald Dust says, “We’ve never had this problem before. We’ve had a problem of high nitrates but we’ve never exceeded the limit.” It’s unknown how the level got to be that high.
Stacks on stacks of free bottled water are sitting outside Assumption City Hall for people to take home. Memory Clay stopped by to pick up a case.
She’s six months pregnant and says her baby’s health is “the most important thing. I have the ability to control it right now so why go through the unnecessary risk.”
When Clay heard about the water issue, her baby’s safety rushed to her mind. She took the bottled water home and as she started to cook dinner for her family, the warning set in. She says, “It’s going to be a lot harder. I’m going to have to constantly remind myself I can’t turn on the tap and get a cup of water.”
The city is flushing and re-blending the water to lower the nitrate level. The EPA says they don’t think this is a long term concern and will test it again sometime early next week.
Assumption is in the planning stage of installing nitrate removal equipment. That will cost $1,000,000. The EPA will pay for $400,000 and the city will pay for $600,000 out of money they already have.