Source of Nitrates in Water: Nitrate is a naturally occurring compound that comes from nitrogen and oxygen. Surface and groundwater can often have benign amounts of nitrate. Unsafe and unnaturally high levels of nitrate generally enter ground water and wells through septic system leaks, feed lots, or most commonly agricultural fertilizers. The EPA's MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) for nitrate is 10 mg/L or 10 parts per million. Recently, in Wisconsin some counties have found that nearly 50% of wells contained unsafe levels of nitrate. Due to drought conditions that often concentrate the amount of fertilizers in runoff water, other states have detected high nitrate levels as well, including Iowa and Minnesota.
Symptoms of Nitrates: Water contaminated with nitrates can cause serious health effects. Once the nitrates have been digested, they are converted to nitrites. According to the EPA and the CDC, pregnant women and infants are particularly susceptible to the effects of nitrates. Nitrates affect a cell's ability to process oxygen. Infants who have ingested nitrate contaminated water or formula made with contaminated water can develop "blue baby syndrome," a condition which inhibits oxygen's travel in the blood stream, and if not treated can result in death.
Testing Solutions for Nitrates: Test your tap water to determine the nitrate level. Some health departments will offer testing kits for sale to well owners. Fresh Water Systems also offers several testing and monitoring options for your convenience. Please click here for water testing and monitoring solutions.
Filtration Solutions for Nitrates: Reverse osmosis systems, anion exchange media, and water distillers can reduce the nitrate levels in contaminated water. Please take a look at the products below or contact our water experts who can help you select the perfect nitrate solution for your home or office.