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Homework III:   Groundwater Contamination in Florida

Contamination of Floridas groundwater by nitrates has become an important environmental and political issue. Our springs which derive from groundwater flow visibly manifest this pollution which has become a significant public concern. Using resources from the web and other sources, answer the following questions.

1. What are nitrates?

                – Inorganic compounds composed of one atom of nitrogen and three atoms of oxygen,                NO3, a salt or ester of nitric acid.

2. What are the principal sources of nitrates to Floridas groundwater?

                – Fertilizers, decayed organic materials, livestock areas an farmlands, poorly built                              wells, and flooding.

 3. What impact(s) is nitrate pollution having on our springs?

                – Overgrowth of algae and imbalance of ecosystems

 4. Which springs are showing the greatest impact?

                – Fanning, Troy, Lafayette Blue, Manatee, and Devils Ear

5. What is the federally-defined drinking water standard for nitrates?

                -The maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) are 10mg/L or 10 ppm

6. What levels of nitrates are being found in our springs and groundwater?

                – 73% of springs contained higher than 0.35 mg/L, and more than 40 percent of the                          springs have a nitrate median concentration greater than 1 mg/L.

                – 9% of the area in Florida has groundwater nitrate concentrations greater than 5 mg/L 

Sources:

http://www.lenntech.com/processes/nitrates/nitrates/nitrate.htm

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nitrate

http://www.soil.ncsu.edu/publications/soilfacts/AG-439-14/index.htm

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/springs/reports/files/springs_report_102110.pdf

http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/nitrate.cfm#four

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