State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011DE209B
Title: Oyster Gardening in Delaware Inland Bays: Filtration as a Means to Remove Excess Nitrogen
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: At large
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Nutrients, Non Point Pollution
Principal Investigators: Ozbay, Gulnihal; Cannon, Amy
Federal Funds: $ 1,500
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,000
Abstract: "State environmental officials have recently levied penalties totaling $514,000 on Millsboro and Harrington for polluting local waterways with excessive and harmful discharges of sewage over the last two years from their waste water treatment plants" (News Journal, Feb 19, 2011). This recent article shows an urgent and immediate need to garner more information on this topic. This has been an ongoing issue in these towns. Water here on Earth is a finite resource, and we must do our best to ensure it is cleaned to the best of our ability for not only our use, but for the use of future generations. To this end, I propose to quantify the effect the Eastern oyster, Crassotrea virginica, has on removal of excess nitrogen from local watersheds in a number of ways. Specific objectives of this research include:

Project Objectives:(1) Evaluate nitrogen levels in two locations in the same local watershed, Indian River Bay and Tiger Branch tributary; (2) Compare nitrogen levels at these locations to show extreme differences in these levels; (3) Determine number of gallons discharged from specific wastewater treatment facility in relation to the number of gallons of water able to be filtered by a comparable number of oysters; (4) Evaluate engineering potential for a man-made bay or containment area at specific wastewater treatment facility; and (5) Determine marginal analysis for economic viability of this solution.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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