Yakima County to get $450K to fight groundwater contamination

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Yakima County is set to get almost $500,000 from the state to expand its groundwater testing project.

It's going to the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area. The agency tests well water and soil for nitrate contamination from manure.

The money will go toward more testing and to develop long-term monitoring programs. It's an attempt to reduce contamination below state standards.

"There's been work that shows that up to 20 percent of the residential wells in the Lower Yakima Valley may exceed that 10-parts-per-million level of nitrate," says Department of Ecology Water Quality Section Manager Charlie McKinney. "And so, those are the people that are primarily under risk."

The Department of Ecology says children under six months are especially vulnerable to unsafe drinking water.