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INTRODUCTION

Nitrate and nitrite are naturally occurring ions that are part of the nitrogen cycle. The nitrate ion
(NO3) is the stable form of combined nitrogen for oxygenated systems. Although chemically
unreactive, it can be reduced by microbial action. The nitrite ion (NO2) contains nitrogen in a
relatively unstable oxidation state. Chemical and biological processes can further reduce nitrite to
various compounds or oxidize it to nitrate (ICAIR Life Systems, Inc., 1987).
Nitrate is used mainly in inorganic fertilizers. It is also used as an oxidizing agent and in the
production of explosives, and purified potassium nitrate is used for glass making. Sodium nitrite
is used as a food preservative, especially in cured meats. Nitrate is sometimes also added to food
to serve as a reservoir for nitrite. Nitrates occur naturally in plants, for which it is a key nutrient.
Nitrate and nitrite are also formed endogenously in mammals, including humans. Nitrate is
secreted in saliva and then converted to nitrite by oral micro flora.
Nitrate can reach both surface water and groundwater as a consequence of agricultural activity
(including excess application of inorganic nitrogenous fertilizers and manures), from wastewater
treatment and from oxidation of nitrogenous waste products in human and animal excreta,
including septic tanks. Nitrite can also be formed chemically in distribution pipes by
Nitrosomonas bacteria during stagnation of nitrate-containing and oxygen-poor drinking-water in
galvanized steel pipes or if chloramination is used to provide a residual disinfectant and the
process is not sufficiently well controlled.

OBJECTIVES
1. To determine the concentration of nitrate and nitrite in the samples given.
2. To understand the effects of nitrate and nitrite in wastewater analysis.

APPARATUS
Beakers, sample cells (1 inch; 10mL), rod/blender, spectrophotometer, NitriVer 3 reagent powder
pillow, NitriVer 6 reagent powder pillow.

PROCEDURES
Procedure for nitrite
1. Switch ON the spectrophotometer and select method of stored program (371N, Nitrite LR PP).
2. Insert the Multi-cell adapter with the 1-inch square cell holder facing user.
3. Fill a square sample cell with 10mL of sample.
4. Add the contents of 1 NitriVer 3 reagent powder pillow. Swirl to dissolve. Pink colour will
slowly develop if nitrite is present.
5. Set 15-minute reaction time by press TIMER>OK
6. For the blank sample, fill a second sample cell with 10mL water samples. Remove bubbles by
swirling or tapping the bottom of the cell on the bench.
7. Insert the blank sample into cell holder with the fill line facing the user.
8. Press zero and the display will show 0 mg/L.
9. Swirl the prepared sample to remove any bubble.
10. Insert the prepared sample into the cell holder with the fill line facing the user.
11. Record the reading.

Procedure for nitrate


1. Switch ON the spectrophotometer and select method of stored program (351N, Nitrite LR PP).
2. Insert the Multi-cell adapter with the 1-inch square cell holder facing user.
3. Fill a 25-mL graduated mixing cylinder with 15mL of sample.
4. Add the contents of 1 NitriVer 6 reagent powder pillow to the cylinder stopper.
5. Set 3-minute reaction time by press TIMER>OK.
6. Shake the cylinder vigorously during the 3 minutes later.
7. When the time expires, press TIMER>OK again. A 2-minute reaction period will begin.
8. When the timer expires, carefully pour 10mL of the sample into a clean square sample cell. Do
not transfer any cadmium particle to the sample.
9. For sample preparation, add the content of one NitriVer 3 reagent powder pillow to the sample.
10. Press TIMER>OK. A 30-second reaction time will begin.
11. Shake the sample cell gently during the 30-second timer. Pink colour will slowly develop if
nitrate is present.
12. Press TIMER>OK. A 15-minute reaction period will begin.
13. For blank preparation, fill a second sample cell with 10mL of water samples. Remove bubble
by swirling or tapping the bottom of the cell on the bench.
14. Insert blank into cell holder with the fill lice facing the user.
15. Press ZERO and the display will show 0 mg/L.
16. Swirl the prepared sample to remove any bubble.
17. Insert the prepared sample into the cell holder with the fill line facing the user.
18. Record the reading.

SAMPLE
BEFORE(mg/L)
AFTER(mg/L)

A
0.000
0.062

B
0.000
0.076

C
0.000
0.064

A
0.000
0.070

B
0.000
0.060

C
0.000
0.060

RESULTS
SAMPLE
BEFORE(mg/L)
AFTER(mg/L)
NITRITE

NITRATE

DISCUSSION
From the results that we have obtain, the largest nitrite and nitrate values that we have determine
by using the spectrophotometer are from sample B. the reading shows the value of 0.076mg/L for
nitrite and 0.06mg/L for nitrate. Even though, this value are still can be considered under the
safety margin for the nitrate and nitrite value for the drinking water which is 10mg/L (van
Duijvenboden & Matthijsen, 1989). Usually this value is cause by the agriculture plant or leaking
in the seawage system. Therefore, this indicate that sample B is come from the area where there
are population and plantation exists.
For sample A and sample C, the amount of nitrate and nitrite reading is less than sample B. we
can assume that this samples are taken from the upstream and downstream of the river. This is
because, the water are not contaminated by the chemical. Besides that, water that being release by
the water treatment plant also contributes to the value obtain by the sample. The proved is that the
water that being released to the river have to be treated until it can be consumed by the
environment.
There are few factors that contributes to the increasing in the values of nitrate and nitrite in the
water. The common source are from the agricultural runoff, refuse dump runoff or contamination
with human or animal wastes. The concentration often fluctuates with the season and may
increase when the river is fed by nitrate-rich aquifers. Nitrate concentrations have gradually
increased in many European countries in the last few decades and have sometimes doubled over
the past 20 years. In the United Kingdom, for example, an average annual increase of 0.7 mg/l
has been observed in some rivers (Young & Morgan-Jones, 1980).
However, if the concentration of the nitrate and nitrite in the water exceeded the requirement, the
water are dangerous to be consumed by the human body. Meanwhile, excess nitrate and nitrite in
water also cause depletion of oxygen in the water. This will cause the aquatic habitats to die and
at the mean time effects the ecosystem.

Nitrate can be removed from drinking water by three methods: distillation, reverse osmosis, and
ion exchange. Home treatment equipment using these processes are available from several
manufacturers. Carbon adsorption filters, mechanical filters of various types, and standard water
softeners do not remove nitrate-nitrogen.
The distillation process involves heating the water to boiling and collecting and condensing the
steam by means of a metal coil. Nearly 100 percent of the nitrate-nitrogen can be removed by this
process. Merely boiling water will increase rather than decrease the nitrate concentration. Water
without nitrate is obtained by collecting and condensing the steam generated as the water boils.
In the reverse osmosis process, pressure is applied to water to force it through a semi-permeable
membrane. As the water passes through, the membrane filters out most of the impurities.
According to manufacturers' literature, from 85 to 95 percent of the nitrate can be removed with
reverse osmosis. Actual removal rates may vary, depending on the initial quality of the water, the
system pressure, and water temperature.

Ion exchange for nitrate-nitrogen removal operates on the same principle as a household water
softener. In a standard water softener, calcium and magnesium ions are exchanged for sodium
ions. However, for the nitrate removal process, special anion exchange resins are used that
exchange chloride ions for nitrate and sulfate ions in the water as it passes through the resin.
Since most anion exchange resins have a higher selectivity for sulfate than nitrate, the level of
sulfate in the water is an important factor in the efficiency of an ion exchange system for
removing nitrates.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, we have determined that the values of nitrate and nitrite of samples A, B and C are
less than the maximum amount of nitrate and nitrite that can be allowed which is 10mg/L. from
the experiment also, we assume that sample A and C coming from upstream and downstream of
the rivers meanwhile sample B is from main land.
Nitrate in drinking water can be a problem, especially for infants. A water test is the only way to
determine whether the nitrate-nitrogen concentration is under the acceptable standard of 10 mg/L.
Proper well location and construction are key practices to avoiding nitrate contamination of
drinking water. Management practices to reduce the risk of contamination from applied fertilizers
help keep the water supply safe.
If drinking water exceeds the acceptable nitrate-nitrogen standard, the choices are to use an
alternate water supply or treat the water. An alternate supply may be bottled water for drinking,
especially for infant formula, or a new well in a different location or aquifer. Water treatment
options are distillation, reverse osmosis, or ion exchange.

REFERENCES
van Duijvenboden W, Matthijsen AJCM (1989) Integrated criteria document nitrate. Bilthoven,
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM Report No. 758473012).
Young CP, Morgan-Jones M (1980) A hydrogeochemical survey of the chalk groundwater of the
Banstead area, Surrey, with particular reference to nitrate. Journal of the Institute of Water
Engineers and Scientists, 34:213236.