Nitrogen is essential for plant growth, but the presence of excessive amounts
in water supplies presents a major pollution problem. Nitrogen compounds may
enter water as nitrates or be converted to nitrates from agricultural
fertilizers, sewage, drainage from livestock feeding area, farm manures and
legumes. Nitrates in large amounts can cause “blue babies” (methemoglobinemia)
in infants less than six months of age. It is an important factor to be
considered in livestock production. Nitrates in conjunction with phosphate
stimulate the growth of algae with all of the related difficulties associated
with excessive algae growth.
U.S. Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards state that 10 ppm nitrate
nitrogen is a limit which should not be exceeded.
Nitrate test using Hach Kit
1. Rinse a color viewing tube several times with the water to be tested, then
fill to the 5 ml mark.
2. Use the clippers to open one nitraVer 5 nitrate reagent powder pillow. Add
the contents of the pillow to the tube. Stopper the tube and shake vigorously
for exactly one minutes.
3. An amber color will develop if nitrate is present.
4. Allow the prepared sample to set undisturbed for one minute, then place
the tube of sample in the right opening of the comparator.
5. Fill the other viewing tube to the 5 ml mark with some of the original
water sample and place it in the left opening of the comparator.
6. Hold the comparator up to a light source such as a window, sky or lamp and
view through the opening in front. Rotate the disc until a color match is
obtained. Read the mg/l nitrate nitrogen through the scale window.
7. Test results can be converted from mg/l nitrate nitrogen to mg/l nitrate
by multiplying the scale reading by 4.4.
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