What’s in Your Well? The Hidden Dangers of Nitrates in Rural Drinking Water

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Nitrate is one of the most common water contaminants worldwide and poses significant
risk for ecological and human health. These risks are especially prevalent in rural areas
where land cover is predominantly conventional row-crop agriculture (e.g., corn and
soybeans) and fertilizer application rates are high. Nitrate pollution poses a serious
problem for water quality in Illinois, yet not enough is known about the prevalence and
extent of rural well contamination. This paper examines the problem of nitrate pollution
in these wells and presents solutions for better understanding and addressing the issue.

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