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Testing for Nitrates in water what are the options?

Nitrate is a naturally occurring substance in the environment and is commonly found in most water sources, it is usually only a cause for concern in areas where water supplies can be affected by farm runs offs and agriculture, its use as a fertiliser can cause increased levels in water supplies

The UK safe limit for nitrates in Drinking water is 50mg/l as described in the current advice on Nitrate from the DWI, The Drinking water institute.

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There are a range of options to test water for nitrates with different levels of accuracy

Test strips – there are a couple of options for nitrate test strips. Quantofix offer a nitrate test strip with a range from 5-100mg/l. This is simple to use and can just be dipped into the solution. It has an additional reading pad to detect Nitrite which can give false positives on the nitrate test. Hach Lange offer a similar Nitrate test strip with a range up to 50mg/l

Test kits – A test kit with a range 0-50mg/l is available, there is a simple nitrate cube kit and a more detailed kit based on a comparator Nitrate Test Kit NI-11 also with a range of 0-50mg/l

Cell tests – the biggest range of options for Nitrate testing is in cell or cuvette tests, these are performed in a colorimeter or a multiparameter instrument or water quality spectrophotometer

ISE electrodes – An ion selective electrode can be used with an Ion meter (or any pH meter with a mV reading to get nitrate measurements across a wide range of concentrations, howver they do require regular calibration so are not suitable for all users

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