What are Nitrates?

Nitrates are a naturally occurring compound, comprised of Nitrogen and Oxygen, which are present in all surface and ground water.

They are produced during the natural decay of plant matter in the soil. They are vital for plant growth and are commonly used in fertilisers.


How Do Nitrates Get Into Your Water Supply?

Nitrates occur naturally in surface and ground water as a result of the decomposition process of plant matter, however, they are also found at much higher levels in areas where fertilisers are used on the land.

Nitrates leach into surface and ground water from fertilised land, as well as from organic manure. An historic overuse of fertilisers has resulted in high nitrate levels in UK groundwater. 

Are there any Benefits to Having Nitrates in Your Water?

Nitrogen is needed by the body to produce certain amino acids and proteins, but the form of nitrates and nitrites have no beneficial function. 

What are the Risks of Nitrates in Your Water?

A high level of nitrates, in the form of nitrites, can significantly impact the ability of blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. In extreme cases, this can result in a condition called Methemoglobinemia, or ‘Blue Baby Syndrome’, and particularly affects small children. 

Can You Get Remove Nitrates From Your Water?

The World Health Organisation guideline on nitrates in drinking water puts a safe level at 50mg/l and, as a result of UK water companies regularly testing drinking water levels and subsequent water treatment, there has not been a case of Methemoglobinemia in the UK for many years.

Unlike some other impurities, nitrates cannot be removed by boiling your drinking water. If you are concerned about the levels of nitrates in your tap water a specialised nitrate water filter could be your solution. The Doulton Nitrate Reduction Cartridge can be used in our HIP DUO Biotect Ultra + Nitrate water filter system, to reduce any nitrates that may be in your water supply. 

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