Excess nitrates in water
The tap water of thousands of Valencia residents still has certain levels of chemical substances that surpass WHO recommended levels
Up to 200,000 people in Valencia could be affected by excessive levels of nitrates in tap water
AS MANY as 214,000 people are still exposed to drinking water with excessively high levels of nitrates, according to a threeyear study by the regional legislative body.
The study shows that the impact of nitrates and plant-protection products used in farming on drinking water is still an issue. Even though the total amount of people exposed has dropped notably since the 90s, when 609,000 people were affected, the water of Alaquàs, Alginet, Almussafes, Benaguasil, Benifaió, Bétera, l’Eliana, Sant Antoni de Benagèber, Sollana and Torrent could still be harmful.
Unfortunately, the study also indicates that the effects of being exposed to higher levels of these substances than is legally established for a prolonged period of time have not been analysed, and as such, remain unknown.
A long-lasting problem
Similar concerns have plagued Valencia residents since the 80s. The World Health Organisation establishes the maximum amount of nitrates in drinking water at 50 milligrams per litre, but this figure was surpassed across the region, seemingly due to farming practices and lacklustre water treatment plants.
In the 90s and 2000s, the issue worsened to the point that drinking tap water was banned in towns such as Carcaixent and Alzira. However, a treatment plant was built in the Ribera district, solving the issue for towns in the Ribera, Foia de Bunyol and Camp de Túria districts.
Even so, the study says that 453 underwater gathering plants are still affected to various degrees by nitrates or chemical products such as herbicides or insecticides.
With the study finally in hand, all political parties are seemingly on board with dealing with the issue.