Next Article in Journal
Changes in Prevalence and Socioeconomic Factors of Psychiatric Disability among Children in China from 1987–2006: A Population Based Survey
Next Article in Special Issue
Lithium in the Natural Waters of the South East of Ireland
Previous Article in Journal
Optimizing Scoring and Sampling Methods for Assessing Built Neighborhood Environment Quality in Residential Areas
Previous Article in Special Issue
Impact of Calcium and Magnesium in Groundwater and Drinking Water on the Health of Inhabitants of the Slovak Republic
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 276;

Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonium Variability in Drinking Water Distribution Systems

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), C.F. Møllers Allé 8, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
National Centre for Register-Based Research, Department of Economics and Business Economics, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics Division, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1603 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jose A. Centeno
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 27 February 2017 / Accepted: 5 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [2516 KB, uploaded 9 March 2017]   |  


Accurate assessments of exposure to nitrate in drinking water is a crucial part of epidemiological studies investigating long-term adverse human health effects. However, since drinking water nitrate measurements are usually collected for regulatory purposes, assumptions on (1) the intra-distribution system variability and (2) short-term (seasonal) concentration variability have to be made. We assess concentration variability in the distribution system of nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium, and seasonal variability in all Danish public waterworks from 2007 to 2016. Nitrate concentrations at the exit of the waterworks are highly correlated with nitrate concentrations within the distribution net or at the consumers’ taps, while nitrite and ammonium concentrations are generally lower within the net compared with the exit of the waterworks due to nitrification. However, nitrification of nitrite and ammonium in the distribution systems only results in a relatively small increase in nitrate concentrations. No seasonal variation for nitrate, nitrite, or ammonium was observed. We conclude that nitrate measurements taken at the exit of the waterworks are suitable to calculate exposures for all consumers connected to that waterworks and that sampling frequencies in the national monitoring programme are sufficient to describe temporal variations in longitudinal studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrate; nitrite; ammonium; nitrification; drinking water; exposure assessment; Denmark nitrate; nitrite; ammonium; nitrification; drinking water; exposure assessment; Denmark

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Schullehner, J.; Stayner, L.; Hansen, B. Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonium Variability in Drinking Water Distribution Systems. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 276.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top