Visit the Sweetwater LLC blog
Visit the Sweetwater LLC blog
Connect with Jim on LinkedIn

Nitrate Filter for Drinking Water

Nitrates in drinking water are a serious health hazard

Nitrates in water are a serious health hazard at levels well below those suggested by USEPA


Scientific studies suggests that women and infants in particular are vulnerable but nitrates are an extremely serious health concern for anyone. Nitrates of 5 ppm have been associated with bladder cancer in post menopausal women.

The Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Men's Health magazine cites a article in the International Journal of Cancer, men who consumed the most nitrates - often found in leafy vegetables, hot dogs, spinach, and drinking water - were more likely to develop thyroid cancer.  The solution to this is to eat nitrate free meat, organic produce, and to treat your water to remove nitrates if they are present in your water.

It is my opinion that if you have nitrates above 3 ppm your family is at risk! US EPA suggests a maximum contaminant level for nitrates of 10 parts per million (ppm). What you must be aware of is that while this number is intended to be a health guideline it is necessarily influenced by politics. So the maximum contaminant level (MCL) is not a number I am comfortable with. In the case of nitrates I will not drink water with 3 ppm of nitrates even though EPA allows up to 10 ppm.

Studies have linked nitrates to colon cancer and disruption of thyroid function - at levels far below the MCL set by US EPA. Studies have also linked nitrate levels of 5 ppm to bladder cancer in post menopausal women. Standards in Europe are much lower. It is possible that the agriculture lobby is responsible for keeping US standards from being set at a lower level.

If you live in an agricultural area, check your local water report for nitrates. There are serious nitrate problems in the central valley of California as well as the midwest farm belt. Having tested private well water for years I can tell you that nitrates are often present due to local activities such as a single orchard, livestock facility, or farm.

Whole House Nitrate Filter


How to remove nitrates from water

Photo illustrates a Mixed Bed Softener which both softens water and removes nitrates, on the left. Sweetwater's Urban Defender, a whole house carbon filter is on the right. This combination of whole house water filtration is ideal for well water in farming areas.

If there are nitrates in your water and they come from an agricultural area you will also have pesticides in your water. The nitrates are telling you that whatever the local farms are putting on their fields is ending up in your water. In this case I would recommend removing both the nitrates and the pesticides. Nitrates may come from fertilizer or from animal urine. In either case the presence of nitrates may also indicate the presence of hormones and anti-biotics given to livestock.

Nitrates are often found in water sources near agricultural areas or can be due to improperly maintained septic systems.  In fact your own septic or your neighbor's may be polluting your well.  Request my free Tips on How to Maintain Your Septic System. You could be polluting your own well and these tips will help you maintain a healthy septic system.

Here's an article on nitrate pollution of drinking water in Minnesota.

And another on nitrate pollution of well waer in Iowa.

My custom reverse osmosis system will remove nitrates from your water. 

Send more information on your Custom Reverse Osmosis System to remove nitrates


I also have a whole house system that will remove nitrates from water.  Learn more by requesting specifications and pricing:

Send information on your whole house nitrate removal system


Nitrates present a serious health concern and whichever way works for you I can help remove nitrates from your water.

You can always call during business hours for details on this and other issues and to review your local water report. Together we can determine how to treat your water to make it healthy for your family.


I provide the finest water purification systems available



You may learn more about my water purification products and services, including water tests, here:

Water Products, Water Tests, and Services


What's in YOUR Water?

James P McMahon, ecologist

James P McMahon




I don't take American Express