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Nitrate (nitrate nitrogen) in drinking water

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What are EPA’s drinking water regulations for nitrate?

In 1974, congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires the EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water which cause no adverse health effects to likely occur. The regulations for nitrate are 1mg/L or 1 ppm. However, some states may set more stringent levels for nitrate other than the EPA. The EPA requires that all community water systems provide a water quality report for their customers each year. Uncertainty exists in the connection between the levels of nitrate in drinking water. The volume ingested, the duration of exposure and risks are not fully understood. It is strongly recommended to be aware of what is in your water and contact the water utility to learn about the nitrate level in your water. If users are on a private well they will have to pay a fee to have the water tested because private wells are not currently regulated.

The best method for treatment of large nitrate nitrogen concentrations due to human or animal wastes is prevention. Wells should be properly located and constructed in order to prevent sewage contamination. Nitrates can be removed through distillation, deionization, or reverse osmosis. Even though about 95% of ionic nitrates can be removed by reverse osmosis, non-ionic forms of nitrogen are not rejected and pass through the membrane. In commercial and industrial water supplies nitrates do not usually present serious problems.

Nitrate in water is undetectable without testing because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Thus, this makes it more important to always know the contaminants in your drinking water so you can plan your method of action. Having access to pure drinking water should not be a privilege; it should be available to all humankind. Nonetheless, pollution is making it harder every day to have access to pure water. Filtration systems are recommended to protect your health and to purify your drinking water source, whether it is well water or city water. Filtration systems such as reverse osmosis can remove contaminants, color, odor, heavy metals, bacteria and more. In our day and age filtration is recommended in every home because of the old pipes that are still used to transport our water. It is always best to take the precautions you need to provide clean and healthy water to your whole family and even future family members – the babies!

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