Novel Sources of Nutrients in Urban Watersheds
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Nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon are naturally occurring nutrients that are essential for all organic life. However, the water quality of many water bodies is negatively affected by high concentrations of these nutrients. A large volume of primary research has been published on different nutrient sources and interactions. While it is the general consensus that urbanization affects surface water quality, it is very difficult to determine all possible sources for N and P in these complex watersheds. This thesis summarizes several potential sources for urban watersheds, and groups them into three focus groups. First is a review of current literature and any gaps present. Then an in-depth study of Carters Creek basin where monthly samples were taken by trained professionals and volunteers over the course of two-years. And the final study explores the subject of death and decomposition by examining nutrient transport from buried pets. Results from the Carters Creek study showed that there were significantly different concentrations of E.coli and nutrients in storm events when compared to normal or low flow events. Additionally higher concentrations were found downstream of known point sources and Carters Creek continues to be impaired for high E.coli values. Our results from the decomposition study found some transport of nutrients downslope from the sources. More research in both studies would assist in further narrowing the interactions between sources of nutrients and watershed systems.
Hein, Kirstin Helena (2015). Novel Sources of Nutrients in Urban Watersheds. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from