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Factors Affecting Dissolved Phosphorus and Nitrate Concentrations in Ground and Surface Water for a Valley Dairy Farm in the Northeastern United States

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Agriculture often is considered to be a contributor of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and nitrate-N (NO3 -N) to surface waters. This research analyzed SRP and NO3 -N concentrations in groundwater and in a creek fed by groundwater on a valley dairy farm in the Cannonsville basin of the New York City (NYC) watershed. A total of 37 groundwater piezometers were installed to depths of 0.3 to 1.5 m. Water-table depth and concentrations of SRP, NO3 -N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and dissolved oxygen were measured at regular intervals over a three-year period. A multivariate mixed model analysis of variance indicated that the SRP and NO3 -N concentrations were controlled primarily by three classes of variables: environmental variables, including precipitation and water table depth; source variables, including manure applied and crop type; and chemical variables, including DOC and dissolved oxygen concentrations in groundwater. The highest groundwater concentrations of NO3 -N and SRP were found at the shallowest water-table depths, which has implications for agricultural nutrient management in areas with shallow groundwater.

Keywords: Cannonsville reservoir watershed; groundwater; nitrate; nonpoint source pollution; phosphorus; valley bottom lands

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2011

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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