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Free nitrate filtration systems still available here

Yakima County has more than 200 water filtration systems available to Lower Valley residents, free of charge.

Officials with the Yakima County Nitrate Treatment Pilot program are urging citizens to test private wells and to apply for the free filtration systems.

In the Lower Valley 64 households have already been approved for a free filtration system. This means those systems are already installed or will be within the next week or so.

Of those 64 households, 35 are in the Sunnyside area and three are in the Outlook area.

Nearly 60 percent of the systems that have been installed to filter out nitrates from drinking water so far are in the Sunnyside area. Given these results, it is likely that a lot more people in the Sunnyside area are eligible for the free system.

Most households should have already received an informational packet from the county, including an in-home nitrate test strip and everything needed to apply for the filtration system.

The only requirement for a free system is that the private well nitrate levels are at 10 ppm or higher. The EPA will conduct the required certified lab test for free -- again, all income levels are eligible.

"The first priority for free systems is still for people at high public health risk from nitrate. However, due to the low number of applications, we are also offering free systems on a first-come, first-served basis for residents whose nitrate levels are at or above 10 mg per liter," said Lisa Freund of Yakima County's Public Services department.

"To be considered, the resident or the homeowner must submit certified lab results showing that the nitrate level in the water is equal to or greater than 10 mg per liter. A completed, owner-signed application is also required," said Freund.

The deadline to apply is Friday, April 29. Residents are urged to apply right away.

Call the nitrate hotline toll free at 1-855-740-8429 to register or receive an informational and testing packet.

"We are certain there are others out there...we haven't received nearly the number of applications we expected," said Freund.

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