HERMISTON — A series of workshops hosted by the Umatilla County Soil & Water Conservation District will focus on safe farming practices within areas of high nitrate-nitrogen groundwater levels.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality declared the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area, or LUBGWMA, in 1990 after many local groundwater samples exceeded the federal safe drinking water standard.

Three weekly workshops will begin Tuesday, March 4 at Oregon State University’s Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 2121 S. First St. The first focuses on pasture management, the second on septic system maintenance and the third on irrigation systems.

Nitrate is a colorless, odorless and tasteless compound that requires proper management of fertilizers, manures and other sources of nitrogen on the land. High nitrate levels in water can cause methemoglobinemia, or blue baby syndrome, found especially in infants younger than six months.

The workshops run from 5:30-7 p.m. Pre-registrations should be sent to Shanna Hamilton by Friday. For more information or to pre-register, contact Hamilton at 541-276-8131 or email eopc@eotnet.net.

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