The City of Dodge City Suspects ‘Well 21’ of High Nitrate Contamination

Judd WeilApril 19, 2021

City of Dodge City Public Works department was recently notified that a water quality sample collected from Well 21 taken April 6, showed a nitrate level at the maximum level allowed for community public water supplies at 10 mg/L. 


According to a City press release, “this notice is a cautionary measure while confirmation samples are being collected to determine if there is a nitrate problem with the water quality.” 


Water Well 21, located by Dodge City Raceway Park in South Dodge, has been turned off from water production and will remain off until confirmed safe. 


Meanwhile, it is advised that consumers refrain from using the water for infants less than six-months-old, if they are nursing, or if they are pregnant, at this time. 


“The way the water system works is that when a well is turned on for distribution it is blended with the whole system to provide water,” said Dodge City Public Information Officer, Abbey Martin. “This well was in production the day sampled, but has not been used since the sampling date.”


Martin added, because the system blends water sources it would impact all of Dodge City.


“Currently, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment requires us to test our water system for nitrates on an annual basis,” said Director of Public Works, Corey Keller. “We perform other water quality tests weekly that are also done through KDHE. 


“This particular well that tested at the maximum allowance of nitrate contaminants only accounted for 2% of the total water distribution from our system in 2020 and less than one-half percent of water distribution so far in 2021.”


Keller stated that since the well is primarily used when water demand is high, it will be moved to a standby status within the system moving forward and only used in emergencies.


Per added precaution, the City of Dodge City will have bottled water available for those that are advised against consumption at this time. 


To schedule a pick up time for bottled water call 620-225-8100.


Public Works staff expects a notification within the next 30 days on the results of the confirmation sample, but in the meantime, as a precaution, people are implored to follow City the warnings in their guidelines. 


The City is saying to not give City water to infants as infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. 


Symptoms include shortness of breath and “blue-baby syndrome.” 


Nitrate is an acute toxin to infants less than six months of age. In infants, it can cause a condition known as methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome” which can be fatal. 


“Blue-baby syndrome is named such, because the most obvious symptom is a bluish skin coloring, especially around the eyes and mouth. 


Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. 


An infant with bluish skin should be taken immediately to a medical facility for treatment. 


Note, it is safe to bathe or shower in tap water with elevated nitrate levels.


  • Water, juice, and formula for children under six months of age should not be prepared with tap water. Bottled water or other water low in nitrates should be used for infants until further notice.


  • Do not boil the water. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrates more concentrated, because nitrates remain behind when water evaporates.


  • Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water, as nitrate is a concern for infants because they cannot process nitrates in the same way adults can. However, pregnant women or those with specific health concerns, may wish to consult your doctor.


Nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources, including septic systems and run-off. 


Levels of nitrate in drinking water can vary throughout the year. 


The City of Dodge City is distributing their notice as a precautionary measure.


They state, they can expect to let citizens know within the next 30 days the results of the confirmation sample that is being collected.


For more information, please contact the Public Works Office at 620-225-8170 or by mailing concerns and questions to 806 Second Ave, PO Box 880, Dodge City, Kans 67801.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.




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