Contaminants Threaten Drinking Water for 300,000 Idahoans

Public News Service

A new report raises growing concern about contamination of Idaho’s Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer.

The Idaho Conservation League has released its second groundwater report on the aquifer, which supplies drinking water for more than 300,000 Idahoans.

Josh Johnson, a conservation associate with the group, says the greatest concerns are nitrogen and phosphorus, mainly from dairy operations and fertilizer use on farms, but there are ways to mitigate the threat.

“There’s a number of different steps we can take to that effect — best management practices in terms of managing the animal manure, managing the amount of fertilizer that goes on the fields,” he points out. “That will be a really good first step to reducing this pollution problem.”

The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer — estimated to hold as much water as Lake Erie — also is important for irrigating farms and the multi-billion dollar aquaculture industry along the Snake River.

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