Author Topic: High Nitrate levels  (Read 2014 times)

Offline micsager

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High Nitrate levels
« on: January 19, 2011, 09:20:11 AM »
My Ward Labs water report, lists Nitrates as ppm as 10.1 (unsafe)

When I look at the EPA website their max is 10 mg/L or 10 ppm.  But some have said these numbers are not directly comparable.  But both Ward labs and the EPA list "ppm."  and if I'm only 0.1 over, I can handle that.  But if these numbers are not directly comparable, RO may be in future......

Any thoughts? 

Offline Kit B

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 09:47:24 AM »
mg/l & ppm are nearly interchangable.
Now...If you REALLY want to be picky, there are folks that can give you the breakdown.
But, for most applications, they are close enough.

I wouldn't brew with ANY water that is listed as unsafe for drinking.

I'm no chemist, but I'd be afraid that by boiling off a volume of the original water, I am effectively creating a concentration of the contaminants.
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Online mabrungard

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 09:55:19 AM »
The reporting from Ward Labs strikes again.  

The Nitrate concentration reported by Ward is given in NO3-N which means nitrate as nitrogen.  To find the true Nitrate concentration in the water using the Ward reported value, you have to multiply their results by 4.43.  That means the nitrate concentration for this water is 44.7 ppm.  The EPA limit for nitrate is 10 ppm.   I'm hoping that Ward has their safe/unsafe flag set at 10/4.43 = 2.25 ppm NO3-N.

The level reported for this water is definitely hazardous to infants since their digestive system doesn't assimilate nitrate like adults.  

The other problem with nitrate in brewing water is that it can be reduced to nitrite which is hazardous to yeast.  

Maybe there is a treatment system in your future.

PS: there are other options for nitrate removal than RO.  If nitrate is the only problem, then there are anionic exchange units that will do the job.  

Martin B
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2011, 10:09:28 AM »
Won't the yeast use this as a source of nitrogen for amino acid synthesis?  I mean, you have urea and/or ammonium nitrate as a nitrogen supplement in brewing nutrient.  Id' think it would be safer to drink the beer than the water.  But certainly an ion exchange cartridge filter would be a good idea.

You live in an agricultural area?
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline micsager

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2011, 10:18:54 AM »
Won't the yeast use this as a source of nitrogen for amino acid synthesis?  I mean, you have urea and/or ammonium nitrate as a nitrogen supplement in brewing nutrient.  Id' think it would be safer to drink the beer than the water.  But certainly an ion exchange cartridge filter would be a good idea.

You live in an agricultural area?

I do.  In fact my whole neighborhood was a farm 10 years ago. 

Offline denny

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2011, 10:20:18 AM »
I have to say that I wouldn't drink that water, let alone brew with it.
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Offline micsager

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2011, 10:26:06 AM »
Well, things are not looking good for the home team.   >:( 

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 10:46:22 AM »
Theres probably a gram of nitrate in an ounce of beef summer sausage.  Drink a liter of beer made with 10mg/l nitrate and you've ingested 0.01g or 1% of the summer sausage.  I'd do both and not worry about it too much.  EPA has a habit of ratcheting down on limits for political rather than scientific reasons.
Lennie
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2011, 10:48:26 AM »
I'd be more worried about pesticides in the water, if there's residual fertilizer (assuming the nitrate isn't from a natural source) then you might be better off using activated charcoal.

Then again, I wouldn't be all that worried about it period.  You probably die faster from the worrying.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline kramerog

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 11:14:05 AM »
Theres probably a gram of nitrate in an ounce of beef summer sausage.  Drink a liter of beer made with 10mg/l nitrate and you've ingested 0.01g or 1% of the summer sausage.  I'd do both and not worry about it too much.  EPA has a habit of ratcheting down on limits for political rather than scientific reasons.

As noted earlier by Martin, the nitrate level is closer to 45 mg/l.  Also the comment about the EPA is pure bunk.  Nitrates in meat is a preservative so you have to balance its benefits with its drawbacks; something you don't have to do for water because there is no benefit to humans of nitrates in water unless you think spleen hemmorhaging or blue baby syndrome is a benefit.

Mic, I'm guessing you have your own well.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 11:44:00 AM »
OK lets say 50mg, thats 5% of the nitrate in 1oz of summer sausage.  Theres no need to preserve meat with nitrate with the advent of refrigeration, so if nitrate is so dangerous why aren't summer sausage and all cured meats outlawed?  Its inconsistent at best.

Your opinion on EPA is as valid as mine, I've worked in areas that deal with EPA regulations for over twenty years (analytical chemist and environmental department) so I do have a basis for my opinion.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline denny

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2011, 12:26:38 PM »
OK lets say 50mg, thats 5% of the nitrate in 1oz of summer sausage.

The difference is that you don't eat large amounts of summer sausage every day.  You do ingest large (relatively) amounts of water every day.  Personally, I choose not to eat any meat that has nitrates in it at all.
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Online mabrungard

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2011, 01:02:31 PM »
Denny nailed it on the head.  The long-term consumption of high nitrate water could lead to a chronic toxicity for some individuals.  The real consideration here is that the 10 ppm limit based on infant consumption is actually an acute toxicity for them.  They could develop the 'blue baby' syndrome. 

I'm kind of with Tom in that we consume nitrates at times in our food, so it can't be too bad.  I sure like my bacon and sausage!  The 10 ppm limit that is in place is clearly geared to protecting a vulnerable segment of our population.  Better to be safe, but we know that for most people that the limit would be much higher.   
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2011, 01:07:56 PM »
How about vegetables then?

Currently about 65 of the average 73 milligrams of the nitrates we consume daily come from vegetables.  
The highest concentration of nitrates occurs in root vegetables and leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and other greens.  The concentration and amount of occurring nitrates will vary depending on the type of vegetable, the temperature that it is grown at, the sunlight exposure, soil moisture levels and the level of natural nitrogen in the soil.  Foods that tend to accumulate the highest amount of nitrate include:
■spinach
■beets
■cabbage
■broccoli
■carrots

We all take in nitrate in our diets.  Maybe this water source does double the person's intake assuming they eat no cured meats.  But its not a matter of this water being the sole source of a toxic component.

Plus there is really not good evidence that nitrate consumption is even correlated with cancer.  Some studies say yes, others say no.

I think theres more compelling evidence that consumption of beer is bad for you.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: High Nitrate levels
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2011, 01:10:45 PM »
There are typically no toxic effects in adult humans, just in young infants.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO