DES MOINES - The city of Mapleton reported that piping within the water treatment plant exploded today.
The water treatment plant is inoperable and drinking water is currently untreated, although it is being chlorinated.. The nitrate level is well below the maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per million.
An operator is closely monitoring chlorine and nitrate levels until the water treatment plant is repaired.
The city is not issuing a bottled water advisory unless the nitrate level rises. Residents with young children may prefer to make their own decision about using bottled water. DNR staff is monitoring the situation.
Parents should be aware that an elevated level of nitrate in drinking water is a serious health concern for infants less than six months old. Infants under the age of six months who drink water containing high nitrate could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Blue baby syndrome is indicated by blueness of the skin. Symptoms in infants can develop rapidly, with health deteriorating over a period of days. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
Tap water should not be used to mix formula or juice, or be given to children under six months of age. The water should not be boiled, frozen, filtered or allowed to stand. None of these actions will reduce nitrate levels. Boiling could increase the nitrate levels as the water evaporates and nitrates are left behind.
Adults and children older than six months can drink the water. Nitrate is a concern for infants because they can't process nitrates in the same way adults can. Pregnant women or people with special health concerns may want to visit with their doctors.