Everglades Research & Education Center

Rapid Field Test for Nitrate and Ammonia in Reclaimed Water

Untitled Document Estimating the concentrations of nitrate and ammonium ions in groundwater from reclaimed water is extremely important. These determinations are usually performed in laboratories using sophisticated equipment, and turn-around time can be from 2 hours to 3 days. Many times, results are needed at the site as quickly as possible. Alternatively, the rapid determination of both nitrate and ammonium ions can be estimated using an ammonia field test kit (LaMotte, Chestertown, MD). The test makes use of the reducing capabilities of titanium chloride (TiCl3), which converts up to 15 ppm nitrate ion to ammonium ion (Braunstein, et al, 1980). Nitrate reduced by titanium chloride eliminates the possibility of coming in contact with poisonous powdered cadmium. Therefore the method is capable of determining nitrate ion and ammonium ion sequentially using the same ammonia field test kit. Field test kit concentration estimates of the combined ammonium and nitrate ions show good correlation with lab results (R2 = 0.85 and 0.89 respectively), and scatter (standard deviation) between the two methods is small indicating that the test kit is an acceptable on-site method.

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