The Importance of Ammonia Monitoring through nh3 Analyzer

 Chloramine disinfection is one of the processes used in water purification. Chloramine is a known disinfectant but not as strong as an oxidant since it doesn’t provide a longer-lasting residual than free chlorine and it won’t form THMs or haloacetic acids. By adding ammonia (nh3) to water after chlorine, it can be converted to chloramine. Chlorine and ammonia will react to form chloramines; however, the water distribution system that is disinfected through the use of chloramines can experience nitrification since ammonia is a nutrient for bacterial growth with nitrates generated as a by-product. The nh3 analyzer can monitor the operation and performance of ammonia addition into the final treated water.

The importance of using nh3 analyzer in a water purification and treatment facility

The presence of excessive ammonia in treated water may lead to the formation of nitrates in the distribution system which requires that ammonia be reduced. However, maintaining slight free chlorine residual in the distribution system prevents ammonia from producing the nitrates but unless the free chlorine residual is carefully controlled, there will problems with taste and odor. Efficient mixing and correct dosing should be maintained for compliance with legislative requirements. The nh3 analyzer can continuously monitor plant performance to ensure that it is complying with regulatory requirements. Using the nh3 analyzer, the concentration of ammonia in the final treated water can be monitored from a sample taken from the final main outflow of the water purification plant.

Environmental monitoring for ammonia

Legislative and environmental regulations are becoming more stringent to reduce the hazardous effects of pollutants to human and the general environment. Several gas detectors have been designed so that industries can comply with regulations without the need for frequent calibration and can be used without being onsite. In the natural atmosphere ammonia concentrations can be low however, in intensive farming areas; ambient ammonia levels would require efficient and fast detection through nh3 analyzer. Increased emissions of ammonia in the atmosphere have also resulted in a national network for ammonia monitoring to improve understanding of ammonia’s role and its impacts. 

The impact of ammonia on ecosystems

Ammonia gas and ammonium ions are nutrients that stimulate plant and algal growth in nitrogen limited systems. Deposition of ammonium can promote crop growth however; it can also alter the structure and diversity of native plant communities. When ammonium ions are deposited into the soil surface, it can increase soil acidity due to nitrification reactions, releasing the hydrogen ions and converting ammonium into nitrate. Since ammonia is believed to supply between 15-40% of nitrogen loading to estuaries, ammonia plays a big role in coastal eutrophication.

Increased emission of ammonia on a global basis comes mostly from fertilizers and domesticated animals. Ammonia emissions from agricultural operations are a growing concern due to its impact on the ecosystems. The nh3 analyzer can measure ammonium concentrations to provide a benchmark in meeting air quality goals. The devices hold promise in detecting ammonia but it needs widespread participation from industries in order to achieve the goals of clean air quality.

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