Nitrate Treatment comparisons

Nitrate Reduction Comparison: Single cartridge vs Reverse Osmosis

Single cartridges to reduce Nitrates have been available for many years  but unfortunately there are significant cons that usually override the pros in the actual performance and operation.

After a thorough assessment we do not recommend or sell the single cartridges for Nitrate reduction.

The most significant difference between the two options of treatment is that we know the Reverse Osmosis process is effective - consistently.

The degree of purification achieved with the RO method is at .0005 of a micron, whereas the cartridge has a 5 micron filter.

The RO is capable of also reducing a wide range of other chemicals, heavy metals etc as well as cysts, bacteria and even viruses.

We do not have the confidence that the single cartridges are of sufficient quality to allow us to include them in our stock.

The operating parameters are loose and when considered against the seriousness of a failure in the performance, it was an unnecessary risk we were not prepared to take - especially when we have total confidence in the operating capability and performance of an internationally-recognised treatment in the Reverse Osmosis process.

There can be an unpleasant smell and taste noticed in the water when the resin is expended 

Nitrate bleed  = High levels of Nitrates in water, when water is run faster than 2 litres/minute.

Break through =  Dumping of accumulated Nitrates into the "treated": water.

The 5 micron sediment layer inside the cartridge can become blocked with minerals or organic material - which stops the flow and indicates a whole new filter is required - which can be expensive to maintain if too occurring frequently.

There are also contradictions in the recommended installation; some say point of entry of all water to the house, (which is just not workable when the total water treated is as low as 760 Litres) others say to be installed to deliver thru a single tap in the kitchen - but at only 2 LPM, so a flow restrictor would be required to slow the water delivery down from most town, city and rural pressure pump delivery rates.

There are instructions to regenerate the resin with a brine solution, that involves another housing where salt is dropped into, then run thru the cartridge to try to regenerate it, but a bypass would be required so the salt did not enter throughout the household reticulation.

A sterilising process of 15 minutes each time is also recommended.

We had a client who tried this as he was financially restrained at the time and very quickly came to the conclusion that it was far too much trouble, was extremely time-consuming and he had no confidence that the filter was actually operating well, so installed the more reliable Reverse Osmosis  treatment - with great results and total peace of mind.

Some capacity claims are very optimistic compared to others - with the exact same cartridge, so there seems to be quite a disparity, but when health and wellbeing is involved, most clients like to have the confidence that what they have installed is capable and proven to achieve what is required - consistently.

I have cut and pasted some info from a couple of websites FYI.

  1. Typical reduction of nitrate based on 2 LPM throughput is 90 - 95%.However terms of lifespan does depend on usage as well as nitrates levels.

It is recommended that the filter is changed at least every 4 months for pregnant woman and small children. 

Capacity 8,000 milligrams. 

  1. 2.  Your new Nitrate Reduction (NRC10) Drinking Water cartridge uses a non-leaching material to reduce nitrates in a water supply. The NRC10 cartridge should only be used with the NRS-1 drinking water system. This filter is not to be used with any other system due to nitrate bleed through that could occur. Have your water checked periodically to verify nitrate reduction.

 LIABLITY All information and recommendations appearing in this manual concerning the use of products described herein are based on information contained in good faith but makes no representation as to its comprehensiveness or accuracy. However, it is the user’s responsibility to determine the suitability for his own use of such products. Since the actual use by others is beyond our control, no guarantee, expressed or implied, is made by First Sales, LLC as to the effects of such use or the results to be obtained. First Sales, LLC assumes no liability arising out of the use by others of such products. Nor is the information herein to be construed as absolutely complete, since additional information may be necessary or desirable when particular or exceptional conditions or circumstances exist or because of applicable laws or government regulations.

 SECTION II. SPECIFICATIONS TABLE A – RECOMMENDED OPERATING LIMITS FOR FEED WATER Specifications NRC10 Water Pressure 40-100 psig (280-690 kPa) Temperature 40-100°F (4-38°C) pH 4.5-8.5 Hardness Less than 1 gpg Iron Less than 0.05 ppm Manganese Less than 0.05 ppm Nitrate Less than 21 ppm (Does not apply to FSN Series softener) Bacteria Must be potable**

NOTE: The NRS-1 may be installed on waters containing nitrate; however the total nitrate concentration of the incoming water supply should be less than 21.0 ppm.

Water containing nitrate concentration greater than 20.0 ppm will greatly reduce the cartridge capacity and leave potential for harmful levels of nitrate bleed through.

Have your water checked periodically to avoid harmful levels of nitrate bleed through.

**DO NOT USE WITH WATER THAT IS MICROBIOLOGICALLY UNSAFE OR OF UNKNOWN QUALITY.

 NRC10 CARTRIDGE REPLACEMENT MANUAL Recommended Filter Change Schedule* 1 – NRC10 – Nitrate Filter:

<=10 ppm nitrate………………………...200 gallons  (= 760 Litres)

<=15 ppm nitrate………………………...150 gallons  (= 570 Litres)

<=20 ppm nitrate………………………...100 gallons  (= 380 Litres) 

Quoted prices for the NRC-10 cartridges range from $75.00 up to $160.00Incl.

At an average water use of approximately 10 Litres per day, with Nitrate reported at 20ppm, the filter would need to be changed at about monthly intervals - quite onerous and expensive

  • At $75.00 each cartridge, the running cost is $900.00 for every year
  • At $160.00 the running cost is a huge $1920.00 every year

Comparison chart

Single NRC-10 cartridge in 10" Housing    

Buying price: $498.90 Incl

Reverse Osmosis water purifier

Buying price:

$767.00+GST  5 stage unit, complete.3 universal 10" housings or $1415.00+GST  American unit complete with Water Quality Monitor.


Capacity: 10ppm = 760Litres
20ppm = 380Litres

CapacityUnlimited use  -  typically up to 2 to 3 years


Efficiency: 90 to 95% depending on usage and N  levels. 

Efficiency: 86% rejection at 50psi.Tested and certified by NSF.  


Operating Conditions:

Water Hardness less than 1gpg=17.1ppm. Water softener required  

Iron  less than 0.05ppm

Operating Conditions:

Water Hardness less than  10gpg = 170ppm = 10 x higher

Iron less than 0.1ppm - 2 x higher


Reliability: Break through risk at over 2LPM

Reliability: No break through


Dumping warning:  high levels of Nitrate in water 

Dumping warning:  No dumping. Nitrates flushed away to drain.


Uncertain performance: Laboratory testing recommended to check performance

Uncertain performance: Water Quality Monitor option


Other contaminants reduced: None

Other contaminants reduced: Extensive range of contaminants removed.


Capacity: Cartridge  AT NITRATE LEVELS OF 10ppm / AT NITRATE LEVELS OF 20ppm

Op. Conditions: RO UP TO 170ppm IS TYPICAL OF GROUNDWATER HARDNESS


Op. Conditions:  Cartridge  WATER HARDNESS SHOULD BE LESS THAN 17ppm.   GROUNDWATER THIS SOFT IS SELDOM FOUND.  17PPM IS MORE LIKE STREAM OR RAIN WATER.
BUYING AND INSTALLING A WATER SOFTENER WOULD BE NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE 17ppm FROM MANY

Performance: RO THE WATER QUALITY MONITOR OPTION INDICATES THE REJECTION RATE PERCENTAGE FOR TOTAL PEACE OF MIND – FOR LIFE.

Nitrate Treatment Comparison

With over 25 years experience specialising in water treatment, we are aware of different treatment methods to reduce Nitrates.
We have known of single resin cartridges for treatment but unfortunately, in our opinion, there are significant cons that override the pros - particularly when the scientifically proven associated health risks of Nitrates are so high.

Our most significant concern is the lack of consistent, proven, long-term effective reduction of Nitrate.

The disparity between claims of volumes of water effectively treated varies widely - for the same cartridge.

Maintenance requirements are also variable. One supplier advises the cartridge can be partially restored but requires another housing and salt being used to create a brine solution to run through the cartridge.

How often?  How do you know when it is required?  How time-consuming?

The supplier states that the filter can block before the capacity is expended.
Another states the filter should be changed every 4 months when pregnant women and small children are using the water.
For water with more than 10ppm Nitrates, it should be changed at 760 Litres.
For water with greater than 20ppm Nitrates, it should be changed at 380 Litres.

High Nitrate levels greatly reduce the cartridge capacity and harmful levels of Nitrates can bleed through.
Water analyses are required to determine this, to avoid excessive Nitrate bleed through and for microbiological contaminants.
The cartridge should not to be used on microbiologically unsafe water or of unknown quality.

A flow restrictor may need to be installed to deliver at the stated 2 LPM.

There is no guarantee and no liability or responsibility/accountability for the accuracy of claims.

Would you be comfortable with the unknowns and risks associated with a single cartridge?

Compare the above unknowns, variables and concerns that come with a single cartridge treatment, with the guaranteed, internationally recognised and scientifically proven Reverse Osmosis water treatment method to reduce Nitrates - with total peace of mind.