High levels of nitrate found in Pinal County water, warning issued to parents of infants

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-03 00:43:19-05

A warning for parents tonight in Pinal County to avoid using the tap water after high levels of nitrate were detected. 

According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, drinking water test results for Johnson Utilities water were returned with high levels of nitrate detected that exceed the federal drinking water standard. 

Parents are being warned to not give the water to infants who are 6-months-old or younger. The water should not be used to make formula for babies or juice. 

Children could become seriously ill and die if their sickness goes untreated. Symptoms of drinking water with high nitrate levels include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. 

Parents are also being warned to not boil the water. 

Adults and children over the age of 6 months can drink the tap water, however pregnant woman are told to consult with a doctor. 

The nitrate standard for water is 10 mg/L; a water sample from Johnson Utilities water came back with nitrate levels of 12 mg/L and 11.4 mg/L. 

Johnson Utilities did not respond to ADEQ's inquiries about whether the company notified its customers of the high tests.

In a statement posted to the company's website Friday night, the company said the high test results were from late October and subsequent testing in November showed levels within acceptable limits.

"We believe the original samples were not correctly performed or read and we have sampled twice since then," company founder George Johnson said in the statement, before reiterating that his company's water is safe to drink.