Nitrate Leaches From Soil to Ground Water

Chemically inorganic fertilizers like ammonium nitrate are easily dissolved and separated once they are applied to the soil. The negatively charged soil particles attract the positively charged ammonium.

Because nitrate is an anion, its negative charge prevents it from being held by the negatively charged soil particles. This allows it to leach from the soil and enter ground water.

This animated illustration shows ammonium nitrate dissolving and separating.
This animated illustration shows that when ammonium nitrate fertilizer is used, it dissolves and separates, allowing nitrate to easily leach from soil to groundwater.