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Phosphorus and nitrogen in the waters of the El-Kabir River watershed in Syria and Lebanon

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In order to assess the quality of the waters of the El-Kabir River, which forms the border between Lebanon and Syria, water samples were collected for phosphorus (P) and nitrogen analyses at 39 sample stations in the river watershed (18 in Syria, 21 in Lebanon). These samples were collected on the main stem and three major tributaries (Nahr al-Arous and Nahr Nasrive in Syria, Chadra River in Lebanon). Three major springs also were sampled. The sampling was carried out in September 2001, and January, April and August 2002. Nutrient analyses were carried out on samples taken in September 2001, January and April 2002 in Syria, and in September 2001 and August 2002 in Lebanon. The P concentrations were extremely high throughout the watershed, as were the ammonia-nitrogen and nitrate-nitrogen concentrations, indicating extensive pollution. Although the nitrite-nitrogen concentration was relatively low, it is at the upper end of what might be considered normal, thereby perhaps being indicative of some anthropogenic sources. The spring waters were found to be polluted by nutrients. The nutrient sources contributing to the river pollution were mainly from piped, direct sewage discharges from the many settlements throughout the basin. These were supplemented by diffuse sources directly from agricultural fertilizer use and from the indiscriminate disposal of solid wastes into the river and on the stream banks and lands adjacent to the roads of the watershed.

Keywords: El-Kabir River; Lebanon; Syria; nitrogen; phosphorus; water

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: General Organization for Remote Sensing, Damascus, Syria, 2: National Council for Scientific Research/National Centre for Remote Sensing, Beirut, Lebanon

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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