Moroni directs infants, pregnant
women not to drink tap water
By Suzanne Dean
MORONI— A directive that infants 6 months and younger and pregnant women should not drink tap water in Moroni will remain in effect at least until next week.
The city issued the “no drinking” order for infants and pregnant women on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and updated it on Monday.
The town ordered 10 pallets of bottled water and has been handing the water out at city hall, 80 S. 200 West, since last Thursday, Feb. 27.
Moroni has two wells. One well, drilled in 1968, has nitrates that are above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit of 10 parts per million or PPM. (That means, for instance, that 10 gallons of nitrates are acceptable in 1 million gallons of water.)
Water coming from the newer well has a less than 1 PPM of nitrates. Moroni has met the EPA standard by putting water from both sources into its water tanks. When water from the two sources mixes, nitrates drop to a safe 2 PPM.
But on Sunday, Feb. 23, the pump on the newer well broke down, leaving the town dependent on the old well, which has the high nitrate level.
In the updated flier issued Monday, the city said it hoped to install a new pump on the well with the problem on Friday.
“Public works will test the water (in the tanks) for nitrate level on Monday, March 9. The city is hopeful to be able to lift the warning at that time,” according to the updated the flier issued last Monday.
The high nitrate level won’t hurt adults and children older than 12 months, the city statements say. But infants under 6 months “can’t process nitrates in the same way adults can.”
If babies younger than 6 months drink Moroni tap water, or drink formula or juice made from tap water, they “could become seriously ill, and if untreated, may die,” according to the city statement. Symptoms include shortness of breath and “blue baby” syndrome.
The city also warned against boiling the water and then giving it to infants and pregnant women, because boiling just increases the concentration of nitrates.
A city official said it is perfectly safe for anybody over 6 months who is not pregnant to drink, bathe in or brush their teeth with the water, and to consume food made with the water.
The city statement noted that nitrates come from natural, agricultural and industrial sources. Nearly all cities in Sanpete County have nitrates in their water, but the critical concern is any concentration of nitrates above the 10 PPM limit.