Gilroy's drinking water supply Saturday was declared safe for consumption again, nearly 48 hours after a well had been shut down for high nitrate levels.
Bryce Atkins, with the City of Gilroy Public Works Department, said June 18 that the state's Division of Drinking Water determined that restrictions put in place two days earlier could be rescinded, and claimed an "all clear" for the Gilroy residents.
Atkins said after the city followed strict state protocols and testing, its water supply was as of Saturday within all state standards for safe consumption. Public works officials said they will continue to monitor levels to ensure the water system provides quality water for the community.
On Thursday, during routine water quality testing, a city water well located at Gilman Road and Camino Arroyo, tested for nitrate levels at 12 milligrams per liter, which exceeded the maximum contaminant level, or MCL, of 10 milligrams per liter.
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City officials shut down a well in east Gilroy June 16 after crews discovered its water had high levels of the dangerous nitrate chemical.
The city issued a drinking water warning in the evening when a routine test of the well at the corner of Camino Arroyo and Gilman Road showed nitrate levels of 12 milligrams per liter, above the federal safety standard of 10 milligrams per liter.
The well was removed from operation at 4:30pm, and remained shut down until after state testing approved repairs, according to Gilroy officials.
Nitrate in drinking water, which varies throughout the year, can come from natural, industrial or agricultural sources, including septic systems, storm water run-off and fertilizers.
It is a serious health concern for infants less than six months old, the Gilroy notice stated, because high nitrate levels can interfere with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, causing life-threatening situations.
Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin, which can develop rapidly. Medical attention needs to be sought immediately if symptoms occur, officials said.