Stronger Storms Hamper Ability of Streams and Rivers to Clean Up Pollution
Freshwater streams and rivers naturally clean up some forms of pollution originating from urban and agricultural areas, but increased storm intensity reduces this ability. This fact underscores the need to improve the management of nonpoint sources of pollution and storm water management. Nonpoint source pollution comes from many sources, such as agricultural land, construction sites, and residential areas. Heavy rain or snowmelt can pick up and transport the pollutants to streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground waters.
Scientists from the University of New Hampshire used a new generation of high-technology sensors, placed directly into streams and rivers, to measure nitrate concentrations continuously under different flow conditions. These sensors are transforming the understanding of water quality and how to improve its management. Results of the study will encourage people to think about how much to fertilize lawns and ensure septic systems are maintained, and help community leaders make decisions about reducing nutrient inputs.
NIFA supports this project through Hatch funding.
Read the article journal Water Resources Research.
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