Nitrate is a frequent water pollutant that results from human activities such as fertilizer over-application and agricultural runoff and improper disposal of human and animals waste. Excess levels of nitrate in watersheds can trigger harmful algal blooms (HABs) and biodiversity loss with consequences that affect the economy and pose a threat to human health. Municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment plants are therefore required to control nitrogen levels to ensure the safety of drinking water and the proper discharge of effluent. Nitrate exhibits distinct absorption bands in the infrared spectral range. While infrared radiation is strongly attenuated in water, implementation of fiber optic evanescent wave spectroscopy (FEWS) enables monitoring of water contaminants in real-time with high sensitivity. This work outlines the development of a non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) detector for the real-time monitoring of nitrate, nitrite and ammonia concentrations targeting implementation at municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS).