Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

The importance of non-agricultural sources of nitrate in UK groundwater - NT1816

Description
This project will enable quantification of chemical inputs to both urban and rural areas. The complete set of objectives is: 1. To identify chemical markers of various recharge sources 2. Sample and analyse recharge sources 3. Establish a groundwater sampling network for deep groundwater in both urban and rural areas, in the project area in and around Nottingham 4. Sample and analyse deep groundwater sampling 5. Select area for shallow groundwater sampling 6. Drilling, sampling and analysis of shallow groundwater 7. Develop suitable single and multiple solute models for quantifying water and chemical inputs to groundwater catchments 8. Collate hydrological data for field areas 9. Quantify agricultural and non-agricultural inputs of solutes use of models 10. Extrapolate results to other areas of UK, consider their significance and make recommendations. The underlying methodology is to use chemical signitures to identify the various sources of recharge, and flux balances of solutes to quantify them. Chemical analyses will include major cations and anions, minor ionic species (NH4, B, PO4, metals), volatile organics. The use of isotopes (N, B, O, S) will be explored to charactirise recharge waters. Microbiological analyses will provide a breadth and quality of data not available before, and enable the various recharge sources to be disentangled. Two types of samples will be collected from groundwater. Existing deep boreholes integrate inputs over a substantial area and depth, so give a good averaging over catchments. A detailed study of shallow groundwater will be made by drilling project boreholes in selected urban and rural areas, giving information on the heterogeneity of inputs. Source waters (rainfall, sewage, water mains, rivers) will be sampled in addition to groundwater. The overall results will be identification of the sources of water, nitrate and other solutes in urban and rural areas, followed by quantification of these inputs, leading to an understanding of the importance of non-agricultural inputs of nitrate to groundwater.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £43,269
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Bradford University, Food Policy Researc
Keywords
              
Fields of Study
Fertilisers and Nitrate Pollution