Nitrate in Water
Publication No. 11955
The amount of nitrate in a water sample will be found by using the TesTab® color comparison method.
Nitrates accumulate in water systems from decaying vegetation, the atmosphere, fertilizer used in agriculture, animal excrement and sewage. Unpolluted water generally has an overall nitrate level less than 4 parts per million. If the concentration of nitrates reaches more than 10 parts per million, water may be unfit to drink. Surface water high in nitrates causes the overgrowth of algae and other organisms that will foul the water found in our water sources. This overgrowth of algae is known as an algae bloom. Algae blooms deplete the water of oxygen and may even create “dead zones” where fish will no longer live.
Nitrate Wide Range TesTabs®, 15
Nitrate Color Comparison Chart
Water sample tube
Nitrate TesTabs® contain chemicals that may irritate skin or be harmful if swallowed. The TesTab reagents used in this kit were designed with safety in mind. The single-use, foil-packaged TesTabs are easy to dispense. Store TesTabs in a cool, dry place and only open when ready to use the tablet. A single tablet, either alone or reacted with a sample, is a low health hazard; however, TesTabs should not be ingested. Wear chemical splash goggles and chemical-resistant gloves. Please review current Safety Data Sheets for additional safety, handling and disposal information.
Please consult your current Flinn Scientific Catalog/Reference Manual for general guidelines and specific procedures, and review all federal, state and local regulations that may apply, before proceeding. In the field, reacted samples may be poured into a container for later treatment. Reacted samples may be flushed down the drain with plenty of water according to Flinn Suggested Disposal Method #26b.
Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)†
Science & Engineering PracticesPlanning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Disciplinary Core IdeasMS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
HS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Crosscutting ConceptsStability and change
MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.