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Project ID: 2006ID65B

Title: Evaluation of levels of success of diagnostic and remediation efforts for nitrate contaminated ground waters with application to the Ashton, ID area.

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 04/30/2007

Congressional District: First

Focus Categories: Nitrate Contamination, Non Point Pollution, Groundwater

Keywords: Nitrates, remediation, groundwater, non-point source, graduate research, Ashton

Principal Investigators: Johnson, Gary Steven (University of Idaho); Lovell, Mark

Federal Funds: $12,556

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $19,423

Abstract: Nitrate contamination of ground water has occurred in many locations throughout the country. There have been extensive efforts to diagnose the sources of contamination and remediate the effects. To date, there appears to be no concise summary of the type of methods employed, their cost, and their level of success. Locally, the Idaho Department of Agriculture (IDA), the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI), and studies commissioned by the City of Ashton, Idaho have all observed nitrates in the ground water in concentrations that at least occasionally exceed Federal EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCL's). A conclusion of Ground Water Technical Report #15 (DEQ, 2001, p. 19) is that "commercial fertilizer use is the probable source for the elevated nitrate levels." It also seems important to note that in the same study, they interpreted the results of the ten samples analyzed for nitrogen isotopes (d15N) as follows: six samples seemed to indicate a source of commercial fertilizers, three indicated sources of organic nitrogen, and one sample indicated a source of possible animal or human waste. While agricultural activities may be the primary source of the nitrates, it also appears that there may be contributions from other sources in addition to the commercial fertilizers. The IDA is working with local area farmers to implement Best Management Practices (BMP's) associated with fertilizer applied to crops grown in the region in collaboration with recommendations from studies conducted by the University of Idaho. Efforts to mitigate other possible sources of nitrate may not have yet been identified with remediation efforts only focused on agriculture.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2009
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