High Levels of Nitrate found at Sunnyside Area School - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

High Levels of Nitrate found at Sunnyside Area School

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SUNNYSIDE -- High nitrate levels have been detected in a well serving Cutlook Elementary School near Sunnyside.

Nitrate levels were found slightly above the safe drinking water standard. No bacteria or other type of contamination has been detected.

The school is closed for the winter holidays but the district is working to have a safe alternative source of drinking water ready when students and staff return on January 7.

Nitrate is a chemical found in most fertilizers, manure, and liquid waste from septic tanks. Nitrate can leak into soil and contaminate drinking water supplies.

Washington State Department of Health says elevated nitrate levels pose the greatest risk to infants, pregnant women, and people with a rare blood exzyme disorder. Ingesting elevated levels of nitrate reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen.

The department of health says it is unlikely that students or staff were hurt by the water.