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San Juan drills new well as nitrate order lifted

Some residents believed drought conditions aggravated the nitrate problem in the San Juan wells.

The state’s regional water board has lifted San Juan Bautista’s order disallowing businesses from distributing tap water while discouraging infants and pregnant women from consuming it.
San Juan residents since May 2014 had been told to stay away from tap water due to high nitrate levels, but in late December the city heard from the state that it was no longer necessary.
High nitrate levels found in the San Juan water can come from such causes as agricultural or septic runoff, while city officials are drilling a new well deeper than the current two wells that have nitrate issues in order to lower the contamination levels to a safe standard.
High nitrate levels are particularly dangerous to pregnant women and infants, according to city warnings.
The city does monthly testing and submits it to the state’s regional water board. Those tests came back below the maximum allowable amount of nitrates in the latter part of last year, prompting the state decision.
San Juan is drilling a new well near the two existing wells along San Juan-Hollister Road, Grimsley said. The city is supposed to finish the work this month in order to comply with a state order related to the nitrate problem.