Small Town Water Quality and Health Concerns, Nitrate Levels increasing in the Midwest, Northeast Indiana, USA

Document Type

Poster Session

Presentation Date


Conference Name

2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Source of Publication

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs

Publication Date






Inclusive pages



People often assume that groundwater qualities are better in rural settings than town/city water supplies. The US EPA recommends that nitrate levels in drinking water should be below 10ppm. Agriculture is the main industry in rural areas of the Midwest of USA and this tends to have some impact on their water qualities. We examined water quality within a Midwest small community in NE Indiana using nitrates levels along with some other parameters. Water samples were collected from two wells at different depths, river, drainage ditch, wetland, and a farm pond. Other parameters tested for included, well depth, temperature, pH, Nitrites, chlorine, lead, iron, pesticides, and bacteria.

The tested nitrate levels ranged between 11.2-62.8 ppm, phosphates were from 0.09-1.25 ppm, and sulfates 1-58 ppm. All water samples tested had nitrate levels higher than 10 ppm and other parameters were above the limit set by the US EPA. The concluded results of the study indicate that the water quality within this community is unsuitable for consumption based specifically on the nitrate and phosphate levels. Area residents have reported spontaneous abortions, miscarriages, and other health affects. Studies have shown that the high nitrate levels may be the cause of the community health concerns. Additional data will be collected throughout the summer and the results will be presented.


Earth Sciences