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The Southern Willamette Valley Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) was declared in 2004 because of high nitrate contamination in a 230 square mile area of the Willamette Valley. A multi-year, multi-stakeholder process is addressing the nitrate contamination issue.
The GWMA encompasses portions of Lane, Linn, and Benton counties and includes five cities (Corvallis, Harrisburg, Monroe, Junction City, and Coburg). Scientific studies have found nitrate to be associated with methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome), diabetes, negative reproductive outcomes, and various forms of cancer. Public water suppliers must test their water regularly but rural home owners are not required to do so and are often unaware of contamination issues.