Read the full story from U.S. EPA.
Across the United States, ammonia is found at high levels in many agricultural areas where groundwater is the primary drinking water source. While ammonia itself is not a regulated contaminant, it can still be a problem for drinking water systems because of its effect on nitrate and arsenic. Ammonia can be a significant source of nitrate and when nitrate exceeds regulated levels, it poses significant health risks to infants. Ammonia can also make it difficult for water distribution systems to remove arsenic, another regulated contaminant that poses health risks.
To combat this problem, EPA researchers have developed new, affordable and easy-to-use biological drinking water treatment systems to implement in small drinking water systems. EPA researchers tested the treatment system to remove ammonia in Iowa and the surrounding region. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources helped EPA identify communities that might be interested in this work. With their help, EPA recently partnered with the community of Gilbert, Iowa, in a year-long pilot project to test the technology to remove multiple contaminants, including ammonia, from drinking water.