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June 30, 2022

High nitrate levels found in city well

Well in east Gilroy shut down pending repairs

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 will remain shut down until it has passed state testing after repairs, according to the city notice.

A city official declined an interview request seeking further information.

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 notice states, who may die because high nitrate levels can interfere with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin, which can develop rapidly. Medical attention needs to be sought immediately if symptoms occur.

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, the city advises.

Pregnant women should not consume the water, the notice continues.

Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. 

To view the notice, visit

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