Water Treatment with Sodium Nitrite

Water treatment includes the use chemicals including biocides, algaecides, coagulants, disinfectants, neutralizing agents, pH conditioners, and corrosion inhibitors. Sodium Nitrite is a corrosion inhibitor, but has uses beyond this in water treatment.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Water treatment involves the use of many chemicals.

For any closed cooling or heating system where the heat exchange fluid is completely contained within the system, corrosion of pipes and metal surfaces can be a serious problem. For systems that have steel pipes, sodium nitrite is commonly used as an additive. It forms a protective film of iron oxide on the metal surfaces.

Odor Control for Wastewater

Sodium nitrite has other uses in water treatment. The Johnstown, Pennsylvania Wastewater Treatment Plant had a chronic hydrogen sulfide odor problem. It was found that the addition of a blend of sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate to the waste sludge has produced a tenfold decrease in hydrogen sulfide and made working conditions more comfortable.


As with many chemicals, sodium nitrite is toxic in concentrated form. It is a strong oxidizing agent with a risk of fire or explosion in contact with other materials. It can be harmful if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, and can cause irritation to eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract. For this reason, care must be taken when handling the substance.

About the Author

Based in South Wales, John Birch has written about pet food and nutrition since 2000, and about Celtic spirituality since 2004. Author of "Heart2Heart" and "Footfall--Prayers for the Journey," he has also written for various U.K. magazines. A winner of NAWG national poetry prize (2005), Birch has diplomas in food technology and business IT from Glamorgan University.