Testing for Nutrients

Nutrient Analysis

Caltest provides testing of waters for nutrients. Surface waters and treated wastewaters are tested for nutrients related to excess algae growth and its related water quality problems.

Nutrient analyses can range from reporting limits in the range of 0.5 to 1 mg/L (parts per million) down to low level reporting limits of 2-10 µg/L (parts per billion). We employ a variety of analytical approaches to better handle the wide range of waters submitted for nutrient analyses. Some of the commonly requested nutrients include Ammonia, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ortho phosphate, Total Phosphate, and variations of the tests filtered or not to yield dissolved results.

Nutrient Analyses of Waters

We use ion chromatography, segmented flow, automated distillation and titration as well as discrete analyzers in our nutrient analyses. Special projects requiring lowest possible detection limits may be analyzed manually using special longer path cuvettes in our spectrophotometer.

Some nutrient analyses have very short hold times (24-48hours) and must be submitted to the laboratory as soon as possible. For projects involving these short hold time nutrient analyses we recommend contacting the lab so they can meet the regulatory hold time.

Containers are supplied by the laboratory to assure no contamination from the sample bottle or the required preservatives that some of the methods specify.  For dissolved nutrient testing, field filtering is recommended. Caltest can supply you with inexpensive syringe filter equipment or cartridge filters for higher volume sample projects or where the sample water has lots of filterable solids.  Our filters are pre-screened to assure that trace level contamination does not occur as a result of the filtration process.

Contact a project manager at the lab to set up your monitoring project.