Assessing the extent and sources of nitrate contamination in the aquifer system of southern Baldwin County, Alabama

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doi: 10.1007/s00254-008-1585-5
Authors:Murgulet, Dorina; Tick, Geoffrey R.
Author Affiliations:Primary:
University of Alabama, Department of Geological Sciences, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
Volume Title:Environmental Geology (Berlin)
Source:Environmental Geology (Berlin), 58(5), p.1051-1065. Publisher: Springer International, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany. ISSN: 0943-0105
Publication Date:2009
Note:In English. 28 refs.; illus., incl. 1 table, geol. sketch maps
Summary:A regional-scale groundwater study was conducted over a 2-year period to assess the extent of nitrate contamination and source identification for southern Baldwin County, AL. Groundwater wells were sampled and analyzed for nitrate and a host of other geochemical parameters which revealed that extensive areas within aquifer zone A2 exhibited nitrate concentrations exceeding regulatory limits. Spatial iso-concentration maps of nitrate were constructed using ArcGIS software to determine the extent and severity of contamination for the aquifers underlying southern Baldwin County with the primary interest focused on the heavily utilized aquifer zone A2. Nitrate levels in the central and northeastern portion of the study area were most extensive with maximum concentrations of 63 mg/L likely resulting from agricultural inputs. Several other small regions throughout the study area exhibited elevated levels of nitrate and chloride as high as 112 and 51.1 mg/L, respectively, and sources likely vary (i.e., residential septic systems, animal waste to agriculture). With the exception of a few groundwater samples, there was no obvious correlative relationship between chloride and nitrate concentration for data collected during the 2-year period. Collectively, a general inverse relationship between nitrate concentrations and well depth was observed for the aquifer system under investigation. The study provides an initial current data set of areas impacted or most vulnerable to nitrate contamination and initial assessment of likely sources of nitrate in the region. Copyright 2008 Springer-Verlag
Subjects:Agricultural waste; Aquifer vulnerability; Aquifers; Chloride ion; Chlorine; Concentration; Environmental analysis; Environmental management; Geographic information systems; Ground water; Halogens; Information systems; Land use; Multiple aquifers; Nitrate ion; Nonpoint sources; Point sources; Pollutants; Pollution; Waste disposal; Alabama; Baldwin County Alabama; United States
Coordinates:N301300 N311800 W0872200 W0880200
Record ID:2009097970
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2018 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by Springer Verlag, Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany
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