Tap water can get contaminated in a number of different ways. Sometimes contaminants originate in the source water itself, while other times they can infiltrate water supplies due to outside forces. One example of a contaminant that falls into the latter category is nitrates. Today we’re going to talk about what nitrates are, how they get into your drinking water, the health effects they can cause and what you can do to remove them from your home’s tap water!
What are nitrates and how do they get into drinking water?
Nitrates are chemical compounds that can be found in the fertilizers that are used by farms as well as in septic systems, soil and bedrock.
Normally, plants absorb nitrates from the ground. However, if the ground contains excess levels of nitrates, there will be too many of them for plants to consume and the compounds can get caught up in agricultural runoff that leads to private wells.
In addition, nitrates can infiltrate water supplies due to breaks in municipal septic systems as well as from certain construction activities such as blasting.
How do you know if your drinking water contains nitrates?
Nitrates are both odorless and tasteless, making them difficult to recognize without a careful examination of your home’s water. That’s why the only way to truly know whether or not your water contains nitrates is to have your water tested at a laboratory. If you’re concerned about nitrates in your drinking water, contact McBride’s to schedule a comprehensive test of your home’s water performed at a New Hampshire-certified laboratory.
What are the health effects of nitrates in drinking water?
Nitrates can affect different populations of people in different ways. Below is a breakdown of the health effects of nitrates as they relate to specific demographics:
- Infants. Young children are the most susceptible to health problems from nitrates. Consumption of the chemical compounds is one of the leading causes of an infant disease called methemoglobinemia, more commonly known as “blue baby syndrome.”
- Pregnant women. Pregnant women are also at risk of developing methemoglobinemia from exposure to nitrates, and the chemicals can also affect babies that are still in the womb.
- Healthy adults. Most healthy adults are not affected by short-term exposure to nitrates in drinking water. However, long-term exposure to nitrates has been linked to gastric problems associated with nitrosamines.
How can you remove nitrates from your drinking water?
If a laboratory test has shown that your drinking water contains nitrates, you can remove them by installing either a reverse osmosis water filtration system or a water softener. Both types of systems can effectively eliminate nitrates from your home’s drinking water.
If you have any questions about nitrates in drinking water, or if you’d like a water system serviced or installed in your home, contact McBride’s Water Advantage, your water softener and water filtration system dealer in Epsom, NH. We provide service all over New Hampshire, including towns like Rochester, Gilford and Laconia, NH.