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The Dangers of Nitrates in Your Well

Many consumers have heard the word nitrates discussed around food that we consume, but they can also be present in your drinking water. Consuming nitrates can be hazardous to your health, and because they are odorless, colorless and flavorless, they could be in your water without you ever realizing it. It’s important that every homeowner understands the potential hazards relating to having nitrates in your well. Hague Quality Water of Maryland cares about your safety, and we are here to make sure that your water is safe.

What Is Nitrate?

Nitrate is a compound that forms naturally in the environment whenever nitrogen is combined with ozone or oxygen. While nitrogen is part of the world around us and critical for any life form, elevated levels of nitrate can be dangerous. Aside from the nitrates that are created naturally, like those created by plants and animals, they can also be added to the environment unnecessarily through industrial activity, smoke and exhaust.

Why Are Nitrates in Your Well Dangerous?

Nitrate is not dangerous in very low levels, but consuming too much can impact the way that your blood carries oxygen and lead to methemoglobinemia. This condition is also known as blue baby syndrome and it makes your skin have a blue tint and can even lead to death due to lower blood pressure, fast heart rate, headaches, vomiting and stomach cramps. Blue baby syndrome, as the name suggests, impacts children the most, but there are still potential health effects for adults who consume too much nitrate.

Recent studies on drinking water with high levels of nitrates have been aimed at pinpointing the effects on adults. Many doctors and health experts are becoming concerned that nitrates in your well water could lead to health effects including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • And more!

Annual testing of your well water is the best way to ensure that your family is protected from nitrates and other possible contaminants in your water.

How Do Nitrates Get Into Your Drinking Water?

Since nitrates can form naturally in the environment, they can be found in surface and groundwater without other contamination or agricultural activity. That level can rise from a variety of situations, including poor well construction, poor well location, use of chemical fertilizers, or poor disposal of animal or human waste. Nitrates can also enter your water supply from activity around your home, including septic systems, food processing waste, and industrial waste. Even more, your well is at an elevated risk of contamination after flooding, especially if it is very shallow.

How Can You Tell If You Have Nitrates in Your Water?

The best way to determine whether or not there are nitrates in your water is with water testing. Hague Quality Water of Maryland offers testing to homeowners throughout Maryland, and we can test your water for nitrates or other compounds that might be present. If you have a private well, there is nobody responsible for testing your water other than your family, unlike if you use municipal water. The CDC indicates that many times the nitrate levels are highest between April and July, so it’s a good idea to plan your water testing around that time period.

Once your water is tested, the levels will be compared to the standards set by federal and state governments. These levels are called Maximum Contaminant Levels, or MCLs, and they indicate the maximum level of nitrates that can safely be present in your drinking water without causing serious health effects. The EPA has stated that the MCL for nitrates in drinking water is 10mg/L. However, it’s important to note that these standards are designed to prevent serious impacts and they are adjusted as research is updated. The level of risk that you are comfortable with for your family may be different from the level of risk that the government defines.

What Should You Do If There Are Nitrates in Your Well?

You have multiple options when there are nitrates present in your well water in elevated levels. Until you have a water filtration solution implemented, you should avoid drinking or cooking with your water. If you are expecting or preparing to become pregnant, you should never consume well water that is untreated with levels of nitrate that are elevated. It’s important to note that you cannot remove nitrate from your water by heating or boiling it. In reality, the nitrate levels can actually increase after boiling. Instead, you need to use professional treatment and filtration processes like reverse osmosis or ion exchange. Contact the team at Hague Quality Water of Maryland to learn about all of the potential solutions to remove the nitrates in your well water.

We offer free water tests to homes throughout our service area to help as many customers who use well water as possible. One of the most popular systems that we offer to filter your well water is the Hague WaterMax®. This premier water treatment system is high-quality, very thorough, and can reduce the levels of many contaminants. These systems are fully customizable and designed to take care of the water you use every day in your home. Because it features a multi-compartment media tank, the WaterMax® water conditioner can do the job of 4 or more pieces of equipment another company might offer.

Test Your Well Water with Hague Quality Water of Maryland

Whether you’re concerned about nitrates, or other contaminants lurking in your water, Hague Quality Water of Maryland is here to give you and your family the peace of mind you deserve. We now offer a convenient mail-in water kit that allows you to test your water right from the comfort of your own home. This complete water test will provide our water treatment specialists with the necessary information needed to determine the best treatment solution for your unique water situation. To purchase your kit today, click here.  We also offer the option for customers to drop off water samples for testing. From Anne Arundel County to Montgomery County to Queen Anne’s County, we are here to help with your water improvement projects. For more information about our services, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.