This paper reports the first example of electrospray ionization (ESI) for the separation and detection of anions in aqueous solutions by ion mobility spectrometry (IMS). Standard solutions of arsenate, phosphate, sulfate, nitrate, nitrite, chloride, formate, and acetate were analyzed using ESI-IMS and distinct peak patterns and reduced mobility constants (K(0)) were observed for respective anions. Real world water samples were analyzed for nitrate and nitrite to determine the feasibility of using ESI-IMS as a rapid analytical method for monitoring nitrate and nitrite in water systems. The data showed satisfactory correlation between the measured value ([similar]0.16 ppm) and the reported maximum nitrate-nitrogen concentration (0.2 ppm) found in a local drinking water system. For on-site measurement applications, direct sample introduction and air as an alternate drift gas to nitrogen were evaluated. The identities of the nitrite and nitrate mobility peaks were verified by comparison of reduced mobility constants with mass identified nitrate and nitrite ions reported in literature. In the mixing ratio, a linear dynamic range of 3 orders of magnitude and instrument detection limits of 10 ppb for nitrate and 40 ppb for nitrite were obtained. The calibration curves showed r(2) value of 0.98 and slope of 0.06 for nitrate and r(2) value of 0.99 and slope of 0.11 for nitrite.