Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area

In accordance with Oregon’s Groundwater Quality Protection Act [ORS 468B.180], the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) declared the Lower Umatilla Basin a Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) in 1990 because regional nitrate-nitrogen concentrations exceeded 7 milligrams per liter (mg/L). This area encompasses Morrow and Umatilla counties including Hermiston, Boardman, Irrigon, Stanfield, and Echo, OR. According to the EPA, high nitrate concentrations in drinking water are linked with serious health concerns for infants and pregnant or nursing women. Sources of excess nitrate in water include fertilizers, septic systems, wastewater treatment effluent, animal wastes, industrial wastes, and food processing wastes.

The LUBGWMA was established to allow for the identification and implementation of practices that will reduce nitrate loading and ultimately reduce groundwater nitrate concentrations below 7 mg/L. To accomplish such tasks, the LUBGWMA Committee was formed and is composed of local area residents and governments representing a broad range of interests within the local area and basin. The Committee is an official body and has since developed and adopted voluntary Action Plans (1997 & 2008) with the help of Umatilla and Morrow County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and oversight of the Oregon Department.

Visit DEQ’s Groundwater Management Area webpage here


*A special thanks to the Port of Morrow for hosting this website*