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Old 09-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #11
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Thanks Aj, I'll call and inform the water company and offer to send them the water analysis from Ward Labs as well as the site you referenced. I'll let you guys know what they say.

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Old 09-06-2012, 01:53 PM   #12
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That is some fairly mineralized water and might be kind of tough to brew with. The red flag the OP points out is much worse than being pointed out here. The MCL for nitrate is 10 ppm. Unfortunately, Ward reports their 'nitrate' result as Nitrogen. That means that when you convert that nitrate as nitrogen result to actual nitrate, the concentration is 50 ppm. Ward should be flagging unsafe nitrate results when they report nitrate as nitrogen above 2.3 ppm to be in agreement with EPA protocol. But since they primarily service agricultural clients who are more likely to have nitrate issues in their water, I'm guessing that they don't want to raise that flag any higher than necessary.

This nitrate level is too high for brewing. The suggested limit for brewing is on the order of 45 ppm to reduce the potential to form nitrite in the brewing process. Nitrite is poisonous to yeast. The nitrate level is also too high for infants and could lead to blue baby syndrome, which is potentially lethal.

I would plan on getting a RO unit for your home drinking water use. It can double for brewing use too. The tap water can still be used for brewing, but it does need to be diluted to reduce the mineralization to lower levels.

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Old 09-06-2012, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
That is some fairly mineralized water and might be kind of tough to brew with. The red flag the OP points out is much worse than being pointed out here. The MCL for nitrate is 10 ppm. Unfortunately, Ward reports their 'nitrate' result as Nitrogen. That means that when you convert that nitrate as nitrogen result to actual nitrate, the concentration is 50 ppm. Ward should be flagging unsafe nitrate results when they report nitrate as nitrogen above 2.3 ppm to be in agreement with EPA protocol. But since they primarily service agricultural clients who are more likely to have nitrate issues in their water, I'm guessing that they don't want to raise that flag any higher than necessary.

This nitrate level is too high for brewing. The suggested limit for brewing is on the order of 45 ppm to reduce the potential to form nitrite in the brewing process. Nitrite is poisonous to yeast. The nitrate level is also too high for infants and could lead to blue baby syndrome, which is potentially lethal.

I would plan on getting a RO unit for your home drinking water use. It can double for brewing use too. The tap water can still be used for brewing, but it does need to be diluted to reduce the mineralization to lower levels.
Wow, so the EPA's recommendation is 2.3ppm Nitrate and I have 50ppm once you convert the Nitrogen to Nitrate? Is this common for a lot of areas and are water companies familiar or do they care?
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:41 PM   #14
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Fertilizer jumped out at me because the water analysis shows nitrates, phosphorus, and potassium. If it is runoff, I would expect atrazine because it is used in copious amounts on cornfields.

I don’t think so Martin. Both Colorado and Illinois say the MCL is 10 as nitrogen, 45 as nitrate.

Quote:
Although low levels of nitrates may occur naturally in water, sometimes higher levels, which are potentially dangerous to infants, are found. Illinois has adopted a drinking water standard for nitrate of 10 milligrams per liter (10 mg/L) as N (nitrogen). This standard is mandatory for public water supplies and is used as a guide for private water supplies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also uses 10 mg/L as N as a mandatory national standard for public supplies under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The 10 mg/L standard expressed as nitrogen (N) is equivalent to 45 mg/L expressed as nitrate.
-http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/factsheets/NitrateFS.htm
Here’s part of what the Illinois Dept of Health says about the source:
Quote:
It is often difficult to pinpoint sources of nitrates because there are so many possibilities. Sources of nitrogen and nitrates may include runoff or seepage from fertilized agricultural lands, municipal and industrial waste water, refuse dumps, animal feedlots, septic tanks and private sewage disposal systems, urban drainage and decaying plant debris. Geologic formations and direction of ground water flow also may influence nitrate concentration.
-http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/factsheets/NitrateFS.htm
BTW, I’ll bet those people would be very interested to know that your water dept has busted out of their MCL (maximum containment level.)

It rained a week ago Friday, didn’t it? The last of the hurricane. That coincides with the timing of your sample for runoff.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:04 PM   #15
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I do think this is something that I should report and I just left a message with the Regional Office in Glen Carbon IL to make them aware. I don't think it was caused by the recent rains we had last weekend because I mailed my sample off the week before that. But who knows, it could be from any number of different things. I feel like I'm doing the right thing though in letting someone know. There are a few families with infant children in the neighborhood and I just feel better letting someone know. Know what I mean?

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:31 PM   #16
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The MCL is definitely as N: From the horse's mouth (or other end depending on what you think of EPA): http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm

Potassium is not that high though 1 -2 does seem to be more typical and phosphorous is limited by the calcium concentration so it's hard to tell about that. Nitrate could come from fertilizer. Could come from minerals.

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Old 09-06-2012, 04:37 PM   #17
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Sure enough, I stand corrected.

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Old 09-06-2012, 04:44 PM   #18
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So I just got off the phone with a representative with the Collinsville Regional office for IL EPA, and she got in contact with the City of Grantfork (my water supplier) who gets their water from the City of Highland, who also does the water testing.

She told me that in the last three years, the City of Highland has been reporting Nitrate (I asked if it was NO3-N and she said it was just listed as Nitrate) levels of ~0.02 - 0.05 for the last three years.

So to me either their testing is flawed, or Ward Labs is flawed, or there has been some really crazy thing happening to cause the nitrate levels to spike up that drastically. Any thoughts?

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:40 PM   #19
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That is quite a disparity. I wonder if it’s contamination. Have you lost water pressure recently?

I talked to a buddy that does wastewater and he couldn’t speak to it directly but he said the reporting is pretty much on the honor system.

I’m guessing the IL EPA isn’t going to let this go. I imagine they’re going to test your water at the tap as well as the source. It’s a public health issue and they have to get to the bottom of it.

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:06 PM   #20
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I just moved into the place on 25 July so I haven't been there very long, but I haven't noticed a change in the water pressure or anything like that. I really hope the EPA does do a little more digging, testing, and auditing the city of Highalands water testing practices to get to the bottom of if cause like you said, it's quite a disparity... It's just funny to me that they've been testing their water, and getting the same results for the past three years, and then someone new moves into the area, tests the water, and gets something completely different. Maybe its different testing methods from one company to the next, I don't know.

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