Understanding Nitrates


What Is Nitrate?

Nitrate is an inorganic compound that occurs under a variety of conditions in the environment, both naturally and synthetically.

In drinking water, the federal standard for nitrate is 10 ml per liter (10 mg/l). Though there is no direct health affect of nitrate exposure to older children and adults, infants are prone to serious health problems. Due to babies’ immature digestive systems, babies who consume large quantities of water with nitrate, especially if it is used to mix powdered or concentrated formulas or juices, are at risk of developing methemoglobinemia, otherwise known as blue baby syndrome.

How are Safety Standards for Drinking Water Set?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for setting drinking water standards for all the states, and each state is responsible for enforcing these standards. In Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) regulates all public water that approximately 2.72 million people receive.

In 2015, 91.5 percent of the population served by public water supply systems received water that met all drinking water standards, which is an improvement from 2014’s 85.5 percent.

Where Can I Get My Water Tested for Nitrate?

In 2015, Iowa public water supplies were tested for nitrate 3,623 times. Findings of the testing can be found in the The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Drinking Water Annual Compliance Report.

How Can I Lower the Nitrate Level in My Current Water Supply?

The best solution to lower nitrate in your current water supply is to find an alternative water supply. Unfortunately, there are no simple ways to remove nitrate from water in your home, as nitrates do not evaporate. It in fact, may increase nitrate concentrations. Refrigerator filters and other store-bought water filters also do not remove nitrates.

Water treatment units such as ion exchange units and distillation and reverse osmosis remove a percentage of nitrates from water.

Where Can I Get Low-Nitrate Water?

If you are concerned about nitrate consumption in water, then purchasing bottled water is one of the best alternatives. An ion exchange process treats Crystal Clear Bottled Water and nitrates are not detected in the water after the purification process. Crystal Clear Water delivers 5-gallon waters and also can talk to you about other treatment options for your home.