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National Drinking Water Database


National Drinking Water Database - Chemical Contaminants

Nitrate


Status: Regulated - EPA has established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for this contaminant.

Nitrate enters drinking water sources from fertilizer runoff, leaching septic tanks, and erosion of natural deposits; it is also emitted by chemical, petrochemical and metal-finishing industries. [read more]

 
Detected
Found above
health guidelines
Found above
legal limit
States
44
30
30
Water utilities
26,177
769
769
People Served
192,908,348
6,863,298
6,863,298

Health Concerns for Nitrate:


Nitrate Exposure by State

Water utilities in 44 states have reported detecting Nitrate in treated tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies.

StateWater Suppliers with Nitrate contaminationWater suppliers reporting Nitrate above health-based limits
SystemsPopulationSystemsPopulation
California1,99546,909,0932004,903,974
Ohio7838,214,87614957,260
Pennsylvania1,5769,475,78753205,559
New York1,6957,949,20828170,955
Virginia263,589,4936150,410
Wisconsin3,7973,982,14226090,263
Texas4,00519,269,4926469,375
Illinois8127,644,5551247,915
Delaware143857,2331447,547
Maryland2694,507,310534,117
New Jersey3966,828,276533,755
Massachusetts4326,936,004227,197
Iowa6311,964,6941822,370
North Carolina8752,450,069517,894
Idaho632972,4891213,864
Arkansas2061,676,635112,075
Oregon6232,303,498811,520
Arizona6644,878,7391611,344
Minnesota5353,024,58098,792
Nevada1872,367,67136,363
Alabama3204,252,79316,084
Michigan2741,754,19845,399
Florida1,48816,968,647103,533
Indiana5414,103,09853,005
Utah4003,631,6464851
Maine308621,6852842
New Hampshire651743,4734428
South Dakota176454,2132387
Alaska274452,3101184
Connecticut5212,532,373136
Kentucky2113,591,00500
Hawaii841,389,30700
Oklahoma21,069,00000
Washington2934,00000
New Mexico116871,06700
Missouri2820,00000
Rhode Island66801,56000
District of Columbia1581,53000
Nebraska2506,50000
South Carolina1327,62000
Vermont255294,11900
Montana109243,24700
Wyoming76147,53900
West Virginia1515,57400
Total26,177192,908,3487696,863,298

The Most Polluted Communities

26,177 water utilities reported detecting Nitrate in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average Nitrate level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
(Range)
1City of Manassas Park
Manassas Park, VA
13,8001 of 130 ppm
(30 ppm)
2Eola Wsc
Eola, TX
21013 of 1325.99 ppm
(20.74 to 28.67 ppm)
3Wheeler Farms Headquarters
Bakersfield, CA
2517 of 1725.1 ppm
(5.87 to 29.37 ppm)
4Fairways Tract Mutual
Porterville, CA
2504 of 423.95 ppm
(10.62 to 29.59 ppm)
5Tony Morris / Morris Dairy
Modesto, CA
2414 of 1422.74 ppm
(16.99 to 28.37 ppm)
6Jettys Reach
Warsaw, VA
721 of 120 ppm
(20 ppm)
7City of Alexandria
Alexandria, VA
135,0001 of 120 ppm
(20 ppm)
8Lake Morena Views MW Co.
Campo, CA
3501 of 119.99 ppm
(19.99 ppm)
9Tree Acres Golf Course- Clubhouse
Plover, WI
505 of 519.76 ppm
(18 to 20.9 ppm)
10Flomot Water Association
Flomot, TX
7512 of 1218.84 ppm
(17.7 to 20.77 ppm)

Health Based Limits for Nitrate

StandardDescriptionLevel
Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppm
Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppm
California Public Health GoalsDefined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.10 ppm
EPA Human Health Water Quality CriteriaWater quality criteria set by the US EPA provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect human health. These are non-enforceable standards based upon exposure by both drinking water and the contribution of water contamination to other consumed foods. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppm
Children's health-based limit for 1-day exposureConcentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects for up to one day of exposure. The One-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppm
Children's health-based limit for 10-day exposureConcentration of a chemical in drinking water that is not expected to cause any adverse, noncarcinogenic effects for up to ten days of exposure. The Ten-Day health-based limit (or Health Advisory, HA) is typically set to protect a 10-kg child consuming 1 liter of water per day. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppm

Testing Summary for Nitrate

Are tests routinely required for Nitrate by federal law?Yes
Water suppliers reporting tests for Nitrate (2004-2009):36,889 of 47,576
Average testing rate for water supplier reporting tests (2004-2009):1.1 per year

Violation Summary for Nitrate

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards for Nitrate since 2004

Maximum Contaminant Level Exceedance Violations1,490
Monitoring Violations6,620
Reporting Violations3

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Type of concern: Reference:
Limited evidence of cardiovascular or blood toxicity US EPA, 1788
One or more animal studies show classified as toxic effects at moderate doses (low dose studies may be unavailable for this ingredient) EPA Toxic Release Inventory PBTs



Government, industry, academic studies and classifications

government/industry list/academic study appears on list as classification(s)
EPA Toxic Release Inventory PBTsNITRATE COMPOUNDS -- TRI•Toxic, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxics Release Inventory programs
A Relational Database of Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases, 1990NITRATE•Cardiovascular or blood toxicity hazards: suspected
US EPA, 1788NITRATE COMPOUNDS•Cardiovascular or blood toxicity hazards: suspected



references

government/industry list/academic study reference
EPA Toxic Release Inventory PBTsEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1999. Toxics Release Inventory Program. PBT Chemical Rule.
Scorecard.org Toxicity InformationA Relational Database of Hazardous Chemicals and Occupational Diseases. Browse Haz-Map by Adverse Effects http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/hazmapadv.html, LaDou, J. (ed.). Occupational Medicine. Appleton & Lange, Norwalk, CN. 1990.
Scorecard.org Toxicity InformationUS EPA. Addition of Certain Chemicals; Toxic Chemical Release Reporting; Community Right to Know. Proposed and Final Rules. 59 Federal Register 1788 (Jan 12, 1994); 59 Federal Register 61432 (November 30, 1994). Summarized in Hazard Information on Toxic Chemicals Added to EPCRA Section 313 Under Chemical Expansion. http://www.epa.gov/tri/chemical/hazard_cx.htm

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