GLADSTONE, Illinois — The Village of Gladstone is warning residents with infants younger than 6 months of high levels of nitrate in the town's drinking water.
According to the alert, the village received a notice Wednesday, March 23 about a sample collected on Monday. The sample showed nitrate levels of 20 milligrams per liter; the standard is 10 milligrams per liter.
The village's alert said nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial or agricultural sources. That includes septic systems and run-off.
Nitrate levels that high are a "serious health concern" for infants less than 6 months old. Infants who drink the water could become "seriously ill and, if untreated, may die."
Infants can develop symptoms rapidly. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, an infant affected by nitrate toxicity may turn blue. This is because their body isn't able to transport oxygen through their blood. Caregivers are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible if this symptom develops.
What should families do?
First, don't let infants drink the water. Water, juice or formula for children less than 6 months old should not be prepared with tap water. Bottled water or other water with low nitrates should be used until further notice.
Residents should not boil the water either. Boiling, freezing, filtering or letting water stand will not reduce the nitrate level, according to the health department. In fact, boiling the water will actually increase the concentration of nitrates.
Those older than 6 months can drink tap water. However, those who are pregnant or have a specific health concern should contact their health provider about their situation.
Gladstone's alert said the village is working to solve the problem. The last sample collected Thursday showed a nitrate level of 7.82 milligrams per liter, bringing the average level to 14.1 milligrams per liter for the week.
The village's alert said it anticipates resolving the issue by December 2025 "with engineering and funding secured."
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