Date of Conferral





Public Health


Loretta Cain


In the United States, many private wells are used as the only source of potable water. These wells, under current federal and state regulations, are neither monitored nor checked for water purity. The purpose of qualitative case study was to gain an understanding about how the documented nitrate contamination problem in the Lower Yakima Valley River Valley is perceived by members of the community and to measure their willingness to engage in collective action for social change. Purposive samples of 6 participants were interviewed using 10 questions derived from the drinking water disparities framework by Balazs and Ray. Additional historical information and data were reviewed. While analyzing interview responses, observations, and documents to understand how the documented nitrate contamination problem, themes and patters emerged and were identified. According to the study results, the community was not actively engaged in any communication regarding the nitrate contamination. Private well owners hold beliefs about the safety of their individual water supply but had no knowledge of the water quality being used by their friends, neighbors, and families This community, if engaged in a collective action to deal with the nitrate contamination problem, could be successful in influencing larger organizations, such as state and federal governmental entities, to work toward nitrate contamination source identification and remediation.