Water Q & A - Water with High Nitrates

Water Q & A - Water with High Nitrates

Plate of Vegetables, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights July 2017. http://acreage.unl.edu/enews-july-2017

Do you have questions about your private drinking water supply?  How about wellhead protection, including the management of your private sewage treatment system?  Send your questions using the Ask An Expert feature on this web site.  Questions will be addressed by Nebraska Extension Educator Meghan Sittler, Nebraska Extension Specialist Bruce Dvorak,  and/or  Nebraska Extension Educator Katie Pekarek. One question and answer will be featured each month in this section of the acreage web site.

Q: We have high nitrates in our well and have a reverse osmosis system for our house but we use untreated well water on our vegetables, is that safe?

Meghan: Yes, watering vegetables with the water high in nitrates does not pose a health risk. Vegetables actually require nitrogen or nitrate for their growth and development so the plants will utilize at least some of the nitrates present in the water.  Just remember to not drink water out of the hose or hydrant with the untreated water. 

Meghan Sittler
Meghan Sittler
Extension Educator - Domestic Water & Wastewater

Meghan's education includes a master's degree in natural resources with minors in political science and environmental planning. She also has a graduate certification in public policy analysis, as well as undergraduate degrees in environmental studies and anthropology from UNL. Her graduate project was focused on the development of collaborative and adaptive management for the Missouri River.

Sittler began as coordinator of the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance in December 2008. Prior to that, Sittler worked for the National Park Service as an archaeological technician, an environmental educator with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department, an adviser and instructor with the UNL Environmental Studies program and School of Natural Resources and as a research and outreach specialist for the National Drought Mitigation Center. Meghan began her work as a Nebraska Extension Educator focussing on water in 2016.

Lancaster County Extension Office
444 Cherrycreek Rd
Lincoln NE 68528-1591
402-441-7180