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Effects of high nutrient levels in water

(91) Sodium and chloride
  • If this is above 250-500ppm then a brackish taste may develop.
  • High levels of sodium chloride (salt) affect palatability and can adversely affect pig productivity and performance.
  • Sodium sulphate is a laxative and mildly irritant.
Calcium and magnesium
  • There are no effects on animal health unless their are high levels of the sulphates which result in the accumulation of scale (as Mg(OH)2 and CaCO3) and over a period of time the diameter of pipes is reduced with the poor flow rates.
Iron and copper
  • High levels of copper have a catalytic effect on the oxidation of iron and if the iron levels are high precipitation of iron occurs when water is pumped, resulting in problems with the delivery system.
  • Iron also supports the growth of certain types of bacteria causing foul odours and blocked water systems.
  • High levels of sulphate in association with magnesium and sodium can cause diarrhoea.
  • High levels promote oxidation leading to a reddish tinge in the water.
Nitrates / nitrites
  • Nitrites can change the structure of the haemoglobin in blood rendering it incapable of transporting oxygen. If levels are high the blood is a dark colour due to lowered levels of oxygen.
  • Extremely high levels of nitrates / nitrites in water, impair the utilisation of vitamin A in pigs and a reduction in performance - such levels however are very rarely found under practical conditions but levels can be sufficiently high to increase stillbirths.

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