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Letter: Time for action on nitrates issue

Over the past several years, this issue of nitrates has finally led to closing of city wells which are assumed to continue, well after well until everything is turned off and watering bans are in place. It makes for interesting inflammatory comments and reading as the problem is pitted against jobs at the potato plant.

The sad truth is that no one in our city or state government is doing anything but reporting on the "play by play." This problem is huge in its scope and absolutely needs to be addressed. The Enterprise has done a good job of reporting the play by play, but it's not their job to fix this, or call people to the table to find a solution. That's really the job for our elected officials.

I'm asking the city council to convene a public forum to discuss this and hear comments from county residents. They should request that Brita Sailer sit on this forum to hear comments and state why she has taken virtually no action on this local crisis and what she intends to do as our representative. If possible, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken should also attend. They came here begging for your vote, now it's time for them to earn their keep.

Specifically, they need to draft legislation to control large-scale irrigation on shallow sands geology to protect the groundwater and aquifer for all future generations. This is not an easy thing to do since if the irrigators and ammonia applications stop, then they have to speak to losing potato plant jobs.

It might be as simple as requiring a disposable drip-irrigation system like commercial strawberry producers use to conserve water throughout. Or they might consider a chemical flocculant to bind the free nitrates. There are possibilities, but virtually nothing is being done that's a realistic working solution.

All of our property values will be affected if there is no water here. I have multiple e-mail requests in to both Sailer and Klobuchar but they don't return calls. Maybe they'll listen to you.

Brian Johnson