Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water: General Information and Sampling Instructions
Nitrates and nitrites, commonly found in fertilizer and sewage, are regulated in drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Public water supplies are required to monitor for these nitrogen-oxygen chemical units at least once a year. If excessive levels are detected, monitoring is increased to every three months.
Private well owners are responsible for their own monitoring and the same frequency is recommended.
Visit the U.S. EPA nitrite/nitrite page for the short term and long term health effects of excessive nitrate/nitrite levels in drinking water.
Northeast Environmental Laboratory, Inc. (NEL, Inc.) is certified by the Massachusetts DEP for analyzing drinking water samples for nitrate and nitrite.
Please read instructions carefully to ensure valid test results.
- Take the sample from a faucet that you use for drinking and cooking, usually a kitchen faucet.
- Do not touch or contaminate the inside of the bottle or cap. Open the sample bottle carefully and hold only the outside of the cap.
- Refrigerate the sample and transport it to the laboratory in an cooler with ice packs within 12 hours. Sample Drop Off Hours: Monday - Thursday 8am-3:30pm.
- Remove the screen/aerator from the faucet before collecting the sample.
- Run the cold water for at least two minutes.
- Collect a cold-water sample.
- Transport to the lab within six hours..
A final report will be e-mailed or mailed when all tests are completed.