When you own a private well that supplies your home, it is critical to perform testing and protecting of your drinking water. Ultimately, it’s up to you to keep your water safe since you cannot rely on a municipality to monitor and remove contaminants. One of the primary contaminants the EPA defines as a problem is to be aware of with well water is nitrates. Nitrates are tasteless, odorless, and colorless contaminant frequently associated with industrial agriculture.
Sources of Nitrates in Well Water
From the bacterial breakdown of nitrogen, nitrate can occur naturally in the environment, however, specifically in areas where industrial agriculture operations are prevalent, high levels in groundwater are normally the result of human influence. In all animal waste and fertilizers is where nitrates are found. As a result, nitrate seeps through soil during rainfall and eventually makes its way into groundwater sources. With elevated nitrate levels as it continues to concentrate, private wells that draw from these groundwater sources can then become contaminated. Another culprit of nitrate contamination is poorly maintained septic tanks. large amounts of nitrate are contained in human waste, similarly to natural and chemical fertilizers used in farming applications. Unwanted levels of nitrate into the water that supplies your home can occur if the well is too close to the source.
Effects of Nitrates in Tap Water
For the average healthy adult to consume, the EPA guidelines state that the maximum contaminant level of nitrate is 10 mg/l. You must treat any well water that is discovered to contain more than this allotted amount. Nitrates rarely present any adverse health effects, though there has been some links between high amounts of nitrate contamination and poor health symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, nitrates can seriously affect blood oxygen levels, which can lead to dangerous, and even life-threatening symptoms for infants younger than six months old. When giving an infant younger than six months water to drink or mixing it with formula it is highly advised that parents avoid the use of any water that is suspected to contain nitrates. Additionally, Pregnant women should also avoid drinking or cooking with water contaminated with nitrate levels. It is necessary to test well water annually to detect any level of nitrate contamination since nitrates leave behind no odor, taste, or color. Because at any time nitrates can be introduced into your well, you should test your water annually to monitor nitrate levels as well as other contaminates.
Nitrate Removal System for Well Water
It is time to look into treatment possibilities should you discover that your well contains levels of nitrates higher than the EPA standard. To remove nitrate, the Water Quality Association has identified a number of techniques and they include ion exchange, chemical reduction and reverse osmosis. The most practical solution to nitrate removal is reverse osmosis since nitrates only pose negative effects when consumed. Ensuring that every drop that you drink is free of many contaminants; these small point of use systems connect to a dedicated drinking faucet. It’s important to look for certification information to make sure that it’s actually qualified to remove nitrates effectively when looking for a reverse osmosis unit to treat nitrates.