LISLE, Ill. — Minnesota’s Annual Drinking Water Report revealed nitrate levels present in the state’s drinking water supply are cause for concern, according to a press release.

The report, compiled by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), shows as much as 10 percent of the noncommunity drinking water systems in the state contain elevated levels of nitrate, with around 600 of Minnesota’s 6,000 noncommunity systems having groundwater sources that have been affected by the contaminant, stated the release.

Elevated levels of nitrate in water sources can cause health risks to the public, reported the release, and infants less than six months old who are exposed to nitrate are susceptible to methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby syndrome,” which interferes with the ability for the infant’s blood to carry oxygen and can be fatal in some cases.

Pregnant woman and individuals with reduced stomach acidity or certain blood disorders can also be at risk of methemoglobinemia when elevated levels of nitrate are present in drinking water, added the release.

“While the majority of Minnesota’s public water supplies provide safe drinking water, nitrate contamination poses a threat to source waters,” informed the release. “The MDH reported that 14 Minnesota communities have nitrate levels that exceed health standards prior to treatment of the groundwater, [and] another 61 communities’ water systems have elevated nitrate levels in their source water. These systems are working with MDH staff to remedy the problem water supplies before nitrate levels exceed health standards.”

The MDH report recommends drilling a new well, connecting to another public water system or installing a treatment system as viable options for removing nitrate from drinking water supplies, noted the release.

Read the entire release here.