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Fertilizers Effect on Groundwater

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Fertilizers Effect on Groundwater

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Fertilizer Effects on Nitrate Levels in Groundwater


Nitrate contamination in ground water ultimately ends up in lakes, streams and springs causing excessive nutrients resulting in degraded water quality and clarity. The purpose of this project was to determine if proximity to a high nitrogen fertilizer use (golf course) has an effect on the nitrate levels in groundwater.

The procedure for my conclusions involved testing groundwater from wells at a variety of distances from a local golf course.

Data gathered for this project included internet research of to determine flow directions of groundwater in the subject area. Soil maps were used to determine that a consistent soil type was present. Aerial photographs and site inspections revealed that all test sites had similar influence from development and septic tanks. Well test information, available to the public, from the State of Florida Department of Health (DOH) made up six of the eight test used in this project. All DOH test were done within the past three years. The remaining two water well test involved the purchase of test kits. I gathered samples in October of 2009 (Sites 2 and 3) according to the instruction and DOH sent them to a laboratory for nitrate level determination.

The recent test that I conducted supported the data obtained from the DOH and I was able to conclude that groundwater from wells in close proximity to and in the direction of groundwater flow had a substantially higher level of nitrates than wells further away and/or opposite of the groundwater flow direction.

Nitrates leach through the soil from a variety of sources including septic tanks and high nitrogen fertilizer use. Elevated levels of nitrates in lakes and springs are often the result. The purpose of this project is to determine if there is a correlation between nitrate levels in ground water and distance from a high nitrogen fertilizer source.

The procedure for my...

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