Natural resources experts say the excess nitrates that cause groundwater contamination are a problem that took years to create, and will take years to fix.
When nitrates in drinking water get too high, they can be dangerous for people, especially infants. That's why NRD's like the Upper Big Blue have management plans in place to keep nitrates in check.
But summer sampling shows that one of their zones in Hamilton County increased enough that they'll have to enforce more rules on crop fertilizer use.
"Producers in that area will be required to attend a training about nitrogen management in the fall of 2014," says Rod DeBuhr, Upper Big Blue's Water Department Manager.
DeBuhr says those farmers will also need to install soil moisture sensors and take soils samples to check for nitrates, plus turn in annual reports of their best management practices relating to the use of nitrogen.
It's equipment that will cost up front, but DeBuhr says many farmers use that technology now because it can help reduce waste and save money.
"It gives you information to help you make better management decisions, the same with soil moisture - instead of guessing when to irrigate you know when the crop needs water," says DeBuhr.
Aurora, Hampton, and Phillips are in the area that's seen the nitrate increase, but levels aren't high enough to be a danger to drinking water.
Aurora officials say their water goes right from the aquifer into the faucet without treatment - something they'd like to see stay that way.
"It's something that we've kept an eye on for a long, long time now, so the nitrate levels to us is a concern. They have been increasing a little each year and we're trying to keep a handle on that," says Aurora Public Works Director Rick Melcher.
The city is currently working with the NRD on drafting a wellhead protection plan, something that can help control contaminants from businesses or users other than farms too. Melcher says those partnerships and data all work together to keep drinking water safe.
"It's definitely something to think about, but nothing that we have to act on right now other than just trying to keep control of it," he says.