The public works director in an eastern Iowa today says an advisory issued earlier this month about the town’s water supply was an error.
On July 1, the City of Wellman informed residents that high levels of nitrates in the city’s water supply could kill infants under the age of six months. But Aaron Shumaker, the city’s public works director, says there was no danger. “That was an isolated incident. It was probably from ammonia in the water the occurs naturall and if that sits long enough, the ammonia converts into a nitrate,” Shumaker says. “…There was really no danger to the community.”
Shumaker took the sample from an infrequently used water source, something he says he won’t do in the future. According to Shumaker, a few small steps could have been taken to avoid the problem with the sample he took a few weeks ago. “I’ve got to turn the sink on and let it run for an hour or two,” Shumaker says. “I don’t have that kind of time.”
Parents of infants are advised not to use water with high levels of nitrates, to avoid what’s called “Blue Baby Syndrome” — a condition in which the baby’s blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen.
(Reporting by Chance Dorland, KCII, Washington, Iowa)