Nitrates (NO3-) is a naturally occuring compound found in groundwater. They can also come from man-made sources, especially in areas heavy in agriculture. They are colorless, tasteless, and have no smell at the concentration levels found in the water. Nitrates are harmful when present in water consumed by pregnant women and babies. Their digestive system converts nitrates in nitrites which then inhibits the transportation of oxygen through their body, resulting in suffocation if not treated.
Nitrates can be treated using reverse osmosis or an ion exchange resin. When treated with reverse osmosis, pressure is applied to water through a membrane which can result in the separating of other contaminants as well. More commonly used, is the ion exchange resin method. Water is passed through the ion exchange resin. As water is passed, contaminant ions are exchanged for chlorides on the resin. As the resin becomes saturated with contaminant ions, the vessel is regenerated.
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