What is nitrate?

Nitrate is:

  • odorless
  • colorless
  • tasteless
  • a component of all living things 
  • occurs naturally in soil and water
  • an important part of the nitrogen cycle that is present and harmless in food and water.
  • forms when microorganisms break down decaying plants, fertilizers, and manure.


What are the health effects of nitrogen?

  • miscarriage
  • thyroid disorders
  • blue baby syndrome
  • birth defects
  • nitrite-induced methemoglobinemia
  • sheep, cattle, and young animals are also susceptible to nitrate poisoning.


What are the sources of nitrate?

  • fertilizer
  • septic systems
  • animal wastes
  • industrial wastes
  • food processing wastes


Nitrate sources- nitrate website

Source: Idaho department of water resources 



When are nitrate levels considered high?

  • 10 parts per million or above
  • pregnant/nursing women, infants, and other sensitive individuals should stop drinking the water


When can water with high levels of nitrate be used?

  • bathing
  • cleaning dishes
  • washing laundry
  • other uses where the water is not ingested.


How can I treat my well water to reduce nitrate levels?

  • reverse osmosis
  • distillation
  • ion exchange


What else can I do to ensure my well water remains safe?

  • monitor your nitrate levels once per year
  • identifying potential sources of nitrate will help you prevent further problems
  • manage the problem


nitrate groundwater waste for nitrate video

Source: CDC