Maximum amount allowed in drinking water:
What is it?
Ammonium [NH4] is derived from ammonia , which is a colourless pungent gas which is used widely in the manufacturing of fertilisers. It is also used in the production of cleaning products and food products.
Ammonia can cause corrosion in copper pipes so as a result you may see staining on your utilities and sanitary ware if you have ammonium in your water. Ammonia also helps inhibit the growth of bacteria in water sources.
How does it get into water?
A lot of ammonium finds its way into water supplies at the source. This may happen moreso in areas with a lot of agricultural activity. Ammonia may also find its way into water sources from runoff from industrial activity or sewage. Elevated levels of ammonia may arise in areas with deep lakes as a result of reduced oxygen level.
Is it damaging to your health?
Ammonium itself is not bad for your health, but it does serve as a valuable indicator of pollution. If Ammonium levels in the water are raised then it is possible that sewage or animal waste has contaminated the water source.
How do I check my Ammonium levels?
You can check your Ammonium levels by purchasing a water test from an accredited laboratory.
Is there anything I can do if I find high ammonium levels?
If you are getting your water from a private well, ensure there is no contamination of the source and ensure and animals are not allowed to wander near your source.
If you are getting your water from a municipal source then get into contact with the council and inform them of potential contamination.