How to Remove Nitrates From Your Drinking Water in Nebraska


Nitrate is a common water contaminant especially in areas of commercial agriculture here in Nebraska. Fertilizer products frequently contain nitrate as it is an essential nutrient for growing green plants. Unfortunately, when nitrate is added back into the soil, the excess, not absorbed by the plants, is washed into the groundwater and local waterways. This means that the nitrate will often enter public and private drinking water supplies.How to Remove Nitrates From Your Drinking Water in Nebraska

The Dangers of Nitrate in Your Drinking Water

While nitrate can be beneficial to help plants grow faster and stronger, it can be very dangerous in drinking water supplies. The primary reason nitrate can be harmful to health is that it can impact oxygen in the body. Oxygen is essential for all of our vital functions and needs to be transported from the lungs to all the cells and tissues of the body. The bloodstream is used for this function, and our blood contains different cells. The red blood cells bind the oxygen in order to carry it around the body. Unfortunately, nitrate can also bind with the red blood cells. In fact, nitrate molecules are more readily bound to red blood cells compared to oxygen molecules. As each red blood cell becomes bound to a nitrate molecule, it is no longer able to bind an oxygen molecule, making it difficult for sufficient oxygen to be transported around the body.  This can be especially problematic in infants, who lack the ability to convert nitrate into nitrites. Infants under the age of six months can develop a blue tint to their skin (a.k.a. Blue Baby Syndrome,) and if left untreated, there is a risk of serious illness and even death. 

Removing Nitrate From Drinking Water

Unlike some contaminants, nitrate cannot be removed from drinking water simply with boiling. Boiling your drinking water may actually increase the nitrate concentration in the water, making it even more harmful. Fortunately, nitrate is not particularly difficult to remove from water supplies. The most efficient method is reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis or RO systems use a semi-permeable membrane to filter out almost every dissolved contaminant from the water supply. The water is fed through the membrane and molecules larger than a water molecule cannot pass through the membrane.

Reverse osmosis has been used for decades for industry applications, but in recent years, it has become more commonplace to see domestic RO systems available to remove a wide range of contaminants including nitrates. RO systems require minimal maintenance and can offer protection from 99.9% of water contaminants. This means that your new RO system can not only remove nitrates from your drinking water, but lead, copper and other potentially harmful contaminants present in your water supply.

If you are concerned about nitrates in your drinking water, you should look for a certified RO systemwhich has been verified and tested by an independent body such as the Water Quality Association or the NSF. This will ensure that the quality of the system is verified and can be relied upon to deliver safe, clean drinking water for the whole family to enjoy.

About The Author, Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska:

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert  advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.  

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