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Why Nitrates in Water Matter and How to Measure Them

Nitrates in water can come from a variety of sources, including agricultural runoff, sewage and septic systems, and urban stormwater runoff. Nitrates can also be naturally occurring. Regardless of the source, nitrates in water can pose a serious health risk, particularly for infants and young children. That's why it's important to test for nitrates and to take steps to remove them if they are present.

As a water quality analysis company, Advance Engineers is always looking for ways to improve the quality of water. One way to do this is by monitoring nitrate levels. Nitrate is a compound that is found in water can be either natural or man-made as result of runoff or leakage from fertilised soil, wastewater, landfills, animal feedlots, septic systems, or urban drainage. There is no taste , colour or smell of nitrate in water. Nitrate and nitrite are compounds that contain nitrogen and oxygen. Both nitrate and nitrite molecules contain one nitrogen atom. Nitrites have two oxygen atoms, while nitrates have three oxygen atoms.

Nitrate N concentrations < ~ 3 mg/L are not a problem. Nitrate N concentrations above 10 mg/L indicate the water is significantly impaired. When concentrations are adequately monitored and maintained, nitrite and nitrate play an important role in many industrial and municipal water-quality monitoring programs: • Nitrites are often used as corrosion inhibitors in industrial process water and cooling towers. • The food industry uses nitrite compounds as preservatives. By monitoring nitrate levels, Advance Engineers is able to provide the best possible water quality analysis for our clients.

Excessive nitrite and nitrate concentrations can negatively affect water treatment processes and pose health risks:

  • High levels of nitrate in water may indicate biological wastes in the final stages of stabilisation or run-off from heavily fertilised fields.

  • Nitrate-rich effluents discharged into receiving waters can degrade water quality by encouraging the excessive growth of algae.

  • Drinking waters containing excessive amounts of nitrates (MCL = 10 mg/L) can cause infant methemoglobinemia (blue babies), while nitrite concentrations seldom exceed 0.1 mg/L.

Nitrite and nitrate concentrations can negatively affect wastewater treatment processes and pose health risks:

  • Nitrates cause a degradation in systems that maintain biological phosphorus removal by fouling anaerobic zone conditions.

  • Chlorine disinfection system effectiveness is reduced by the presence of nitrite.

  • Total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) content in wastewater effluent contributes to receiving water quality degradation.

Advance Engineers is a premier provider of water quality analysis and testing services. Our highly trained and experienced staff use the latest technology and equipment to provide accurate and reliable results. We offer a full range of water quality testing services, including:

• Nitrate and nitrite testing

• Biological waste testing

• Fertilizer runoff testing

• Algae growth testing

• Drinking water quality testing

Advance Engineers is dedicated to providing the highest quality water testing and analysis services available. We are committed to helping our clients protect and improve the quality of their water supplies. Contact us today to learn more about our water quality testing services


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