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High Nitrate Levels in Rural Water District 101 Warrant Water Source Changes

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RENO COUNTY, Kan. – Nitrate levels have risen above allowable limits in Rural Water District 101, which serves the Yoder area. The last nitrate level test was collected on March 6, 2023. The level tested at 10.5 mg/L, which exceeds the Kansas and Federal (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 mg/L for public water supply systems. Nitrate levels in water resources have increased in many areas due to applications of inorganic fertilizer and animal manure in agricultural areas.

On August 12, 2020, Reno County received a precautionary public notice for acute nitrate violation from KDHE. A warning was then sent to Yoder residents to limit water usage, especially for infants under six months. A second notice was sent on September 3, 2020, due to additional testing. A third precautionary public notice sent on October 27, 2020, requiring bottled water to be provided, upon request, to any household with members at increased risk from the nitrates, such as infants, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and other at-risk customers as identified by a health care provider.

On May 7, 2021, Reno County received a precautionary public drinking water advisory of potential nitrate water quality from KDHE. A warning was then sent out on May 17, 2021, to Yoder residents to limit water usage, especially for infants under six months. A second notice was sent to residents on September 23, 2021, due to additional testing and a third notice was sent out October 4, 2021, due to additional testing as well. A fourth notice was sent out on December 29, 2021, due to additional testing that was completed.

On June 13, 2022, Reno County received a nitrate result of 11.3 mg/L, which exceeds the Kansas Federal (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 mg/L for public water supply systems. A warning was then sent out on June 15, 2022, to Yoder residents to limit water usage, especially for infants under six months. A second notice was sent to residents on September 6, 2022, due to additional testing.

Reno County Public Works is currently in discussions with the City of Hutchinson, the City of South Hutchinson, and the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce regarding a possible water trunk line to be located approximately two miles south of South Hutchinson on K-96 for an Industrial Park. Reno County’s involvement in creating a line to the Industrial Park will determine if the Yoder water source will come from the Industrial Park or a direct line from the City of Hutchinson down Yoder Rd. The engineering firm Schwab Eaton has been hired to design the water line that will service the Yoder Water District 101.

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