State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2009ND189B
Title: Chemical Fingerprinting of Sediments and Water of the Souris River for Identification of Diffuse Pollution Sources III
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Sediments, Methods, Surface Water
Keywords: River sediments, Diffuse pollution, Chemical fingerprinting
Principal Investigator: Otte, Marinus L. (North Dakota State University)
Federal Funds: $ 10,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 20,000
Abstract: Phosphorus is ubiquitous in water, soil and sediments. Excess phosphate in water can lead to eutrophication resulting in over-production of algae and other plants. This may lead to problems regarding water quality. Ecological problems include increased production of biomass of (potentially toxic) phytoplankton, decreased water transparency and depletion of dissolved oxygen. Social problems include the high cost of water treatment, loss of aesthetic quality of the river and reduction of fish species, many of which are economically-important. In the last two years, this study focused on the environmentally and politically sensitive Souris River, which originates in Saskatchewan, then passes through North Dakota and Manitoba. There is international concern regarding phosphate loading in the water and the cross-border consequences of pollution transport. This year, the study will focus on Turtle River. The data obtained from the Souris River will be applied to study sediment loading and transport in the Turtle River in North Dakota. The Turtle River is known to have high sediment concentrations of Cd, Se and As, and is an 'impaired' river of concern to the North Dakota Department of Health. However, the geographic origin of the phosphate has not been traced so far. Pinpointing the sources of polluted suspended sediments is critical for pollution abatement and regulation. In this project the potential for tracing sediments acting as phosphate sources to the Turtle River will be assessed using the 'chemical fingerprinting' technique. This involves determining the 'fingerprint' concentration of many elements simultaneously. The technique provides quality and efficiency of analysis. The elements considered pollutants can be analyzed quickly and at very low concentrations. The research proposed here will develop a chemical fingerprint for the sediments in the Turtle River. This 'fingerprint' will then be used to identify pollution sources.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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