Study finds high levels of nitrate in Granger water - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Study finds high levels of nitrate in Granger water

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We've talked for some time about water quality problems in Granger and Gilmer Park on South Bend's south side.

Wednesday, we learned the results of a year-long study, and the results aren't good.

Roberts Environmental Services finished a year-long study for Saint Joseph County that found high levels of nitrate and pharmaceuticals in the drinking water. That includes things like antibiotics, caffeine, deet, and nicotine.

Experts say it's likely coming from septic systems. "There really is no other conclusion that the water has been impacted by wastewater and the method of wastewater disposal in Granger is via septic," says Dave Jeffers with Roberts Environmental Services.

It's cause for concern for the Saint Joseph County Health Department. Nelson says many homes in Granger and Gilmer Park are above the regulated standard for nitrate.

"Nitrate can be lethal to infants. If you have an infant and you have not tested your drinking water and you live in many areas of St. Joe County, I would not be using the water," says Marc Nelson,  Environmental Health Director for St. Joseph County.

Tamara Ciszczon has lived in Granger for 22 years. She's always been concerned about the water, and has taken steps to protect herself.

"I started purifying my water by reverse osmosis in 1994 due to living one block away from the IDEM, Hinton's neighborhood," says Ciszczon.

Ciszczon hopes the Health Department does something to help fix the problem."We need to keep our bodies as pure as possible," she says.

At Wednesday's meeting the Health Department decided to move forward with short term and long term plans to lower nitrate levels.

Members will have more in-depth discussions about that at the beginning of the year.

"We have to move forward and look at the alternatives and get some costs on them and get some data on their effectiveness," says Nelson.

The Health Department would like residents to test their wells and see what their levels are.
The department is also looking at other short-term fixes like drilling deeper wells and urging residents to put in a reverse osmosis system.

Long term, the county may look at providing sewer service.

The department's next meeting is January 22nd.

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