Nitrate concentration comparison in the Suwannee River Basin Sara Santarelli
A. Since 1971 nitrate concentrations in the Suwannee River have been increasing at a rate of 0.02 mg/L per year. The rise of nitrate concentrations found in the Suwannee River basin must be addressed. This problem is of extreme significance not only to hydrogeologists, but also anyone who cares about preserving natural Florida. Attempts to remove nitrate concentrations have been unsuccessful and limiting the amount used in agriculture will take years to improve the changed groundwater chemistry. B. Suwannee river basin is located on one of the most productive aquifers in the world, the Floridian Aquifer. Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Orlando all rely on the Floridian aquifer as the primary water source. The aquifer is recharged when rain and groundwater seep through the soil, and discharged through several springs and rivers. However, human impact and other factors have been adversely affecting the Floridian Aquifer for over fifty years. Water sampling through the decades has proven the rise of nitrate concentrations at specific locations in the Suwannee River Basin. Nitrate, nitrate-nitrogen, is required for growth and reproduction of aquatic fauna in small natural amounts. However, septic tanks, atmospheric deposition, animal waste and agriculture have caused nitrate concentrations to rise significantly. Nitrate used in agriculture leaches down into the Floridian aquifer though groundwater recharge, and is then discharged into a spring. High concentrations of nitrate create an imbalance in the natural groundwater chemistry, which affects the entire ecosystem. Although plants need a small amount of nitrate, high concentrations cause algae and other vegetation to over grow. Aquatic animals such as fish, shellfish, and aquatic invertebrates require dissolved oxygen to live. However, as the overgrown vegetation dies and decomposes,...
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