Water warning not a first for one neighborhood - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Water warning not a first for one neighborhood

Shellsburg (KWWL) -- Water is the worry at the Timber Ridge Mobile Home Park south of Shellsburg. The Iowa DNR warned not to give babies any tap water from that area.

The DNR says tests of the parks water well found high nitrite levels -- which can affect the blood's ability to carry oxygen. Boiling or filtering water doesn't help. People living in Timber Ridge say they don't drink the water anyway because it's always been a problem.

"It's kind of disturbing because we've been trying to get it fixed for about a year and a half now and it's just a continual process," said Nikki Rodites, who lives in Timber Ridge.

"I think it's wrong. I don't drink the water here. I drink bottled water," said Cindy Grau, another Timber Ridge resident.

Timber Ridge has exceeded the nitrite level six times in the past 3 years.

SHELLSBURG (DNR News Release) - Residents of a manufactured housing community south of Shellsburg in Benton County are being warned not to give tap water to infants under six month of age due to high levels of nitrite in the water supply.

The warning is being issued after recent samples taken at the Timber Ridge housing development indicated that the nitrite level in the raw water was at 1.5 milligrams per liter. The standard considered to be safe - or the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) - for infants under the age of six months is 1.0 milligrams per liter.

While the warning is in effect, residents should take the following precautions:

  • DO NOT GIVE THE WATER TO INFANTS. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Blue baby syndrome is indicated by blueness of the skin. Symptoms in infants can develop rapidly, with health deteriorating over a period of days. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
  • 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 nitrites should be used for infants until further notice.
  • DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrite level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrites more concentrated, because nitrites remain behind when the water evaporates.
  • Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water (nitrite is a concern for infants because they can't process nitrites in the same way adults can). However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

Timber Ridge is home to approximately 140 households and a population of 225 about five miles south of Shellsburg. The community water supply comes from a groundwater source treated with chlorination for disinfection. During the last three years, the Timber Ridge water treatment facility has exceeded the nitrite level six times. They are required to test for nitrite four times a month the distribution system.

At this time, it is unknown as to why the system has been experiencing periodic nitrite problems in recent years, but an engineering firm has been hired by the owner of Timber Ridge to investigate different options to address the problem.

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