Nitrate/Arsenic Removal


Nitrates are one of the most serious health concerns related to water. It is essential for well owners to test for nitrates in water throughout North Georgia every year as well as test for bacteria. Nitrates are introduced into water through both the erosion of natural deposits and from the use of fertilizers. Wells near chicken farms and fields that are fertilized with chicken manure tend to have higher than normal nitrate levels. Water with high nitrate levels can be treated in two ways as described below.

The first option is through an anion exchange system very similar to a water softener. The system creates a chemical reaction that will exchange the nitrates in the water for chloride ions attached to the filter media. Like a water softener the media must be regenerated every few days with salt. These systems are fairly expensive when compared to other types of water treatment and require a constant supply of salt. In most cases a softener will also need to be installed ahead of the anion exchange system.

Another option for removing nitrates is through reverse osmosis. This process forces water through a semi-permeable membrane that will remove almost all minerals that are dissolved in the water. This process generates a lot of wasted water as only a small percentage of the water gets through the membrane. The remainder is flushed away with the minerals that were removed. Typically this type of treatment is done only at a location where water is consumed. Small RO units can be mounted in cabinets and under sinks to supply treated water to a special drinking faucet and icemakers. This limits the amount of water wasted by the RO unit.


Arsenic is not very common in North Georgia but it has been found in a few wells. It gets in the water from the erosion of natural deposits and runoff from orchards. Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL (maximum contaminant level) over many years could experience skin damage or problems with their circulatory system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.

We do Arsenic Testing as well as test for nitrates in water throughout North Georgia since these chemicals result in a similar filtration solution.The same processes used in treating nitrates can be used to treat for arsenic.  Arsenic can also be removed using certain types of absorbing and oxidizing media but a detailed water analysis is required to determine how well they will work.