Nitrates are natural compounds produced by the decomposition of organic matter, and they are commonly found in soil and water. While small amounts of these compounds naturally make their way into drinking water, higher concentrations can be very dangerous. Inorganic nitrates are often used in fertilizers, and they can easily make their way into the water supply from farms and gardens, raising the concentration to potentially dangerous levels. A good nitrate water filter, like those from US Water Systems, will capture these compounds and remove them from your drinking water. The Certified Water Specialists at US Water Systems can help you find the right filter system for your family’s needs.
Nitrogen is a common part of many agricultural fertilizers, as it is essential for healthy leaf growth. This element is an essential part of chlorophyll, the compound that allows plants to convert sunlight into energy that they can use. As a result, many farmers and home gardeners use nitrogen fertilizers to grow strong, healthy plants. Unfortunately, the nitrogen can be converted into nitrates by bacteria in the soil and washed into the water system by irrigation or rain. While there are limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the maximum allowable amount of nitrates in municipal water supplies, private wells do not fall under these restrictions. Anyone with high levels of these compounds in their water should employ a nitrate filter.
While nitrogen is essential for healthy plant growth, high nitrate ingestion can be very dangerous for humans and animals. Too much nitrate can affect the red blood cells, making it harder for blood to carry oxygen. This is especially dangerous for babies and young children, and can lead to a potentially fatal illness called methemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome.” The compound has also been linked to low birth weight in babies born to mothers who consumed nitrate contaminated water during pregnancy, and some developmental delay issues in children.
Because nitrates have no color, odor, or taste, there’s no way to know if your water has high levels of these compounds unless you test for them. This is especially important because high nitrates can be an indicator of other water contaminants, especially pesticides. With a complete water testing kit, you’ll know what’s in your water and if you need a nitrate water filter.
It can be a challenge to remove nitrates from water, as standard activated charcoal filters are not effective. The most effective nitrate filter uses an anion resin ion exchange media. Only special resins that are specifically designed to remove nitrates will work – standard anion resins are more effective at removing sulfates, and they can actually add nitrates back into the water after a certain point of use. Nitrate-selective media have a higher affinity for these compounds, and they have far lower levels of leakage and nitrate dumping.
At US Water Systems, we recommend treating nitrate contaminated water with a filtering system that includes enhanced nitrate removal. This type of nitrate filter system includes one or more cartridges that contain the special anion resin required, and which can be easily changed out once the filter is exhausted. This type of nitrate water filter is often combined with a reverse osmosis (RO) system, which also help remove any remaining nitrates from the water.