Ammonia is rarely found in unpolluted surface water, but is common at low levels in well water. Water contaminated with sewage, animal wastes or fertilizer runoff may contain elevated levels of ammonia. Ammonia is very soluble in water. Because of its solubility, excessive soil ammonia may penetrate into deeper soils and eventually reach groundwater. In some soils part of the ammonia may be converted to nitrates and nitrites before or after it reaches groundwater. See nitrates for more information.
Everyone is exposed to low levels of ammonia every day, but the presence of higher ammonia levels may be an indication of potential water quality issues. Although ingestion of concentrated ammonia causes irritation and damage to the mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract, these effects are unlikely to occur at the levels of ammonia found in drinking water. See nitrates for more information.
ACTION IS OPTIONAL
Ammonia levels were detected in your water sample. There is no health-based standard for ammonia. If you have concerns about the levels detected, please consult your physician.
- ATSDR - Toxic Substances Portal - Ammonia