Ecology names members of Yakima Valley group

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- The Washington Department of Ecology has announced the members of a newly-formed advisory board to address nitrate contamination in the lower Yakima Valley.

Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant says the committee work with the county and other agencies to find ways to protect drinking water and prevent further contamination to soil and groundwater. Members announced Monday include representatives of environmental and farm groups, scientists, the Yakama Nation and government agencies.

State and federal officials have been investigating nitrate contamination in the Yakima Valley since the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper uncovered the problem in a series of stories in October 2008. Potential causes include application of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, manure and leaking septic systems.