The Effect of Various Water Purification Methods on Nitrate Levels in Drinking Water

Friday, February 12, 2016
Shannon Miklandric, Kim Miklandric, Chesterfield, VA
In this experiment, tap water containing 40 mg/L of nitrates was purified using various methods to determine which method resulted in the most nitrates being removed. Six different purification methods were used, including Brita carbon filtration, Aquatech carbon filtration, Pur carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and distillation. The purpose of conducting the experiment was to determine which purification method would remove the most nitrates from the tap water. Finding the results of the experiment could contribute to the study of eliminating the cases of methemoglobinemia in infants and adults, which is predominantly caused by nitrates. The reverse osmosis purification method removed the most nitrates, followed closely by ion exchange. These two methods removed virtually all of the nitrates in the water, both with an average of 0.5 mg/L left in the water after ten trials. The distillation method also removed a significant amount of the nitrates, with an average of 4 mg/L left after ten trials. The carbon filtration methods did not remove as many nitrates as the other purification methods. The best carbon filtration method was the Pur carbon filter with an average of 18.7 mg/L of nitrates left after ten trials, followed by the Brita activated carbon filtration method with an average of 20.6 mg/L of nitrates left after ten trials, then the Aquatech carbon filtration method with an average of 21.3 mg/L of nitrates left after ten trials.