Nitrate in Drinking Water
Concerned about nitrate in your ? Fortunately, is rare in the UK. However, those with private supplies are at . from is possible in several ways.
Before resorting to expensive treatments or the first step should be to test the .
What is Nitrate?
Nitrate is a naturally occurring compound formed from and oxygen atoms. It has the chemical formula NO3-. High levels of can be dangerous to our health.
Nitrifying bacteria in the soil produce nitrates. It's estimated that lightning also produces 10,000 tons of nitrates each day!
All plants need nitrate to produce foliage, it's one of the main components of modern fertilizers. Nitrate fertilizers have been boosting the yield of our crops since the 1920s
How does nitrate get into ?
Nitrate applied to our crops can run off the fields into such as streams and rivers. Nitrates also seep down through the soil and rocks and can contaminate .
The UK requires the to be less than 50 parts per million.
extracted from rivers and bore-holes in agricultural areas often contain nitrates. is a common problem for private supplies ( ). A 2019 study by the Inspectorate found 7.5% of samples contained too much nitrate.
What are the health risks of Nitrate?
Nitrate is relatively stable and unreactive and as such its toxicity is low. The action of the bacteria in the mouth and the gut can convert nitrates into toxic nitrites.
can reduce the ability of blood to carry oxygen. Nitrites are dangerous for infants and . At high levels, they can cause blue baby syndrome ( ). Thankfully, cases of are extremely rare in the UK.
Nitrites can react with other substances to form chemicals that may cause cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified them as potential carcinogens.
Can I test my for Nitrates?
Independent laboratory analysis of your is simple and accurate.
Tests provided by thewaterprofessor.com can provide assurance to anyone concerned about nitrates.
You cannot remove nitrate by boiling your . Removing nitrate from can be expensive so we recommend that you test your first! There are three main methods for removing nitrates and improve your :
- Distillation - Not particularly practical for most applications.
- - Nitrate has a negative charge and it's attracted to charged resins. has the disadvantage that it becomes less efficient with time.
- - The most effective method of removing nitrate for most people. (RO) uses special membranes to filter many contaminants from .
The bottom line
in pose a but are rare in public- . Bacteria in the body convert nitrates to nitrites which can pose a . can be expensive so we recommend testing your first.