Question: Are there simple tests for nitrates in well water?

stevie is asking a question about water-quality: Follow this topic

by stevie | December 16, 2019 14:59 | #21769


From a local community member: Wisconsin private wells are plagued by nitrates and bacteria from fecal contamination and fertilizer runoff. Landowners too often fail to have wells tested due to cost or finding contamination they cannot afford to deal with. Here in Wisconsin, a basic test for nitrate/bacteria costs around $50 through the health department and requires us to get materials to the lab twice. This test does not include any metal, drug, or hormone testing. Is there any possibility of creating a simple testing device for nitrate that could give results without using a lab?



8 Comments

I think the quickest/cheapest nitrate testing kits may be found in your local pet store (or online retailer) in the aquarium section.. you can get testing strips quite inexpensively (say, 50 test strips for less than $10, or more if you dig around to buy in bulk), and some are colormetric kits that involve some mixing of samples.

These are probably affordable enough that you could try to identify spots for further testing, but will be a lot less accurate than the lab test, and wouldn't tell you anything about metals/bacteria/hormones. I've seen consumer tests for fecal coliform designed for people to test their home drinking water in the same price range, but don't know much more about them-- you might also look for what's available for folks that get their household water from private wells.

I'm assuming all of these are pretty similar in that they can give you a ballpark sense of what might be in the mix, but you'd probably want to do some comparison testing and then follow up with a lab test if you needed actual numbers, but starting here could be helpful in helping to decide what sites to focus on.

Also, the drinking water standard for nitrates is 10 milligrams per liter (10 mg/l) nitrate-N, or 45 mg/l nitrate-NO3. Most of the consumer tests for nitrates don't test below 70 mg/l. So I don't think this is a good test for people who are concerned about having an answer if their water is safe to drink.


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Stevie,
Thanks for asking this of others.
Glory  Adams

On 12/16/2019 8:59 AM, notifications@publiclab.org wrote:

Are there simple tests for nitrates in well water?

Read and respond to the post here:https://publiclab.org/notes/stevie/12-16-2019/are-there-simple-tests-for-nitrates-in-well-water


Wisconsin private wells are plagued by nitrates and bacteria from fecal contamination and fertilizer runoff. Landowners too often fail to have wells tested due to cost or finding contamination they cannot afford to deal with. Here in Wisconsin, a basic test for nitrate/bacteria costs around $50 through the health department and requires us to get materials to the lab twice. This test does not include any metal, drug, or hormone testing. Is there any possibility of creating a simple testing device for nitrate that could give results without using a lab?

Respond to the post here:https://publiclab.org/notes/stevie/12-16-2019/are-there-simple-tests-for-nitrates-in-well-water


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There is so many test for this these are: Nitrate can be removed from drinking water by three methods: distillation, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange, and this can be removed by using well grade concrete , well burnt brick, cement concrete structure for the well can decrease the well water pollution also.

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There are four different types of nitrate tests: the brown ring test, Devarda's test, diphenylamine test, and copper turning test. The brown ring test reacts with iron sulfate in an acidic environment to form a brown ring. Devarda's test forms ammonia which has a high pH. Healthy dakrside

Hi! This is helpful thank you!! can you say more about the tests- how you might conduct it, the costs or the supplies you need for each one?

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I just looked into these a little further. All of them use sulphuric acid which can be dangerous.

The brown ring test: https://byjus.com/chemistry/brown-ring-test/

The diphenylamine test: This is a colorimeter test; if by adding adding diphenylamine, ammonia and sulphuric acid to the water, the solution turns blue, then nitrates are present.


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I am telling a advice about to use the Perfect construction technology and proper Admixtures in concrete , if well is constructed with concrete , that protect well from the percolation of Nitates in the well water.

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