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MPCA says agriculture impacting high nitrate levels

A study recently released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shows nitrogen levels are high or very high in southern Minnesota.

The study indicated about 70 percent of the nitrates came from cropland agriculture.

"I believe Minnesota farmers are committed to conservation, stewardship and water quality protection," MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said. "But collectively, too much nitrate is ending up in streams and rivers. We have to do better."

Nitrate in surface water can be toxic to fish and the aquatic life food chain and nitrate in drinking water is potentially harmful to humans, MPCA officials said.

Other sources of nitrates identified in the study include wastewater treatment plants, forests, the atmosphere, septic systems and urban runoff.