MCL: 1 ppm
Source: Occurs naturally in minerals and is found in fertilizers. Runoff of these fertilizers can contaminate natural water sources. Sewage waste may also produce nitrite.
Summary: Nitrite is the conjugate base of nitrous acid. It forms when nitrous acid loses a proton. It may occur as an environmental contaminant through its use in fertilizers. Leaks in septic tanks and discharge from sewage may also cause nitrate to occur as an environmental contaminant. Nitrite also occurs naturally and erosion may cause discharge into water sources. Nitrite is measured in water by the total concentration of nitrogen present. Excess amounts of nitrogen in water is used by algae and plants. Algae blooms are common occurrences resulting from excess nitrogen uptake in plants and algae. This process also depletes the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and may lead to fish kills. Nitrite is a strong oxidizer and may react explosively with ammonium salts and potassium cyanide.