What are nitrates in water?
Nitrates are inorganic compounds made up of nitrogen and oxygen that occur both naturally and synthetically in the environment. Nitrates are found in the earth’s atmosphere, in the soil, and in water. They are easily biodegradable and highly soluble in water. Nitrates are created by plant decomposition, animal waste, and as an agricultural byproduct. Rainwater, floods, and soil erosion can all lead to nitrates being introduced to groundwater supplies.
Nitrogen is one of the most essential nutrients for prosperous plant and crop growth. Nitrogen is one of the building blocks of the chlorophyll molecule, which allows plants to create food for themselves through the process of photosynthesis. Fertilizers for lawns, gardens, flowers, and crops all use nitrates to provide the plants with this natural energy to help the plants flourish and remain healthy. When these fertilizers are carried by floods or rainfall into streams and lakes, nitrate levels in the groundwater will escalate.
Nitrogen is abundant in our environment and critical to the health and growth of all living creatures. However, excessive consumption of nitrogen compounds can lead to health complications and illness.
How to remove nitrates from water?
1. Reverse osmosis
2. Ion exchange
3. Water distillers
How do I prevent nitrates from getting into my water?
Construct your well away from contaminated sources. Shallow wells are much likelier to present elevated nitrate levels. The deeper the aquifer you draw from, the better the chances of you avoiding the runoff from the agricultural waste. If your well is located downstream from heavy irrigation or farmlands, consider relocating the well to a more secure spot.
Have your well inspected. Call a licensed well contractor and have them perform routine maintenance and inspection on your well. If your well is damaged or underperforming, the water could be exposed to an increased level of contamination from nitrates and other waterborne invaders.
Avoid using fertilizers and pesticides near the well. If your well is located on property that is being used for agriculture, be mindful of how manure, herbicides and pesticides, and fertilizers could be contaminating the water. Where possible, avoid using these products in close proximity to your well or water sources that could transport nitrates into the aquifer you rely on for drinking water.
Regularly test your well water. You should test your well water at least every other year to monitor the contaminants present in your water. You should also test the water from your tap, to make sure that your water filtration systems are performing optimally and contaminants like nitrates, arsenic, and bacteria aren’t making their way into your home.