Bottled water forever? Morrow and Umatilla residents want to see more action to solve groundwater pollution

Decades of commercial food production has contaminated the groundwater that Umatilla Basin residents rely on. But momentum is finally building to fix the problem.

BOARDMAN, Ore. — Thousands of Oregonians in northern Morrow and Umatilla Counties depend on private wells to supply their drinking water, but in recent years, much of the groundwater in the aquifer beneath the Lower Umatilla Basin has become contaminated with dangerous levels of nitrates, a byproduct of the region’s heavy farming and commercial food production activity.

State regulators and local leaders have known about the problem for decades — but they haven’t done much about it. Critics say the polluting industries

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