Nitrate in groundwater

 

Downstream alluvial aquifer, Konza Prairie LTER Site:

 

                                                                                                            Blue line, upper part of

                                                                                                                 aquifer:

                                                                                                            entrained nitrate trapped

                                                                                                            in the unsaturated zone

                                                                                                            increases nitrate

                                                                                                            concentration near the

                                                                                                            water table when

                                                                                                            water levels rise

                               ­

groundwater NO3-N                                                                            Green line, middle part of

concentration                                                                                           aquifer:

 

                                                                                                            Red line, lower part of

                                                                                                                  aquifer:

                                                                                                            receives dilute water

                                                                                                            recharged from limestone

                                                            time ®                                    bedrock that has low

                                                                                                            nitrate and high sulfate

                                                                                                            concentrations

 

 

 

GEMS:  Geohydrologic Experimental and Monitoring Site, near Lawrence, Kansas, run by the Kansas Geological Survey, in Kansas River alluvium, near the bedrock-valley wall.

 


Nitrate concentration follows

hydraulic conductivity trends, with

sand-and-gravel portion of the aquifer

a conduit for transport of agricultural

nitrate.  Some ports (4 and 7), are

“drag” points, where a thin layer of

low hydraulic conductivity material

results in slow change in nitrate

content compared to adjacent ports.

 

Nitrate concentrations vary on a

short-term basis, with changes

evident even when the sampling

interval is two weeks.   Nitrate plume

is pulled toward a water-supply well

when local water demand is high,

resulting in the short-term variations

observed.

 

 

 

Refereed articles

Macpherson, G. L., and Marios Sophocleous, 2004, Fast ground water mixing and basal recharge in an unconfined alluvial aquifer, Konza LTER Site, northeastern Kansas, USA:  Journal of Hydrology, v. 286, no. 1-4, p. 271-299.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1998, Nitrate loading of shallow ground water, prairie vs. cultivated land, northeastern Kansas, USA:  Proceedings, WRI-9 (Ninth International Water-Rock Interaction Conference, Taupo, New Zealand, 30 March-3 April, 1998), p. 165-168.

 

Guidebooks, Open-File Reports

McElwee, C. D., J. J. Buter, Jr., G. L. Macpherson, G. C. Bohling, R. D. Miller, C. M. Mennicke, T. Huettl, M. Zenner, Z. Hyder, W. Lue, M. Orcutt, M. L. Beilfuss, M. L., and S. Gonuguntla, 1995, Characterization of heterogeneities controlling transport and fate of pollutants in unsonsolidated sand and gravel aquifers--Final report to the Dept. of Defense:  Kans. Geol. Surv. Open-File Rept 95-16.

 

Macpherson, G. L., and M. K. Schulmeister, 1994, Source(s), fate and residence time of nitrate at two sites in Kansas--a comparison of carbonate and alluvial aquifers:  Kansas Water Resources Research Institute Report, Contribution No. 312, 81 p.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1993, Preliminary assessment of nitrate at two sites in Kansas--comparison of alluvial aquifer and fractured limestone:  Kansas Water Resources Research Institute Report, Contribution No. 305, 39 p.

 

McElwee, C. D., J. J. Butler, Jr., G. L. Macpherson, G. C. Bohling, R. D. Miller, C. M. Mennicke, T. Heuttl, M.Zenner, Z. Hyder, W. Leu, and M. Orcutt, 1993, Characterization of heterogeneities controlling transport and fate of pollutants in unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers:  Second Year Report:  Report to the U. S. Department of Defense, published as Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 93-21.

 

McElwee, C. D., J. J. Butler, Jr., G. L. Macpherson, G. C. Bohling, R. D. Miller, W. Leu, C. M. Mennicke, and Z. Hyder, 1992, Characterization of heterogeneities controlling transport and fate of pollutants in unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers:  First Year Report:  Report to the U. S. Department of Defense, published as Kansas Geological Survey Open-file Report 92-20.

 

Abstracts

Hall, J. M., Macpherson, G. L., and Black, R. A., 1999, Nitrate in a Confined, Alluvial Aquifer: 3-D Movement Through Time:  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 31(6): p. A-396.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1994, Source(s), fate, and residence time of nitrate in groundwater--A comparison of carbonate and alluvial aquifers:  Water Research in Kansas, 1993, p.5.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1993, Source(s), fate, and residence time of nitrate in groundwater--A comparison of carbonate and alluvial aquifers:  Water Research in Kansas, 1992, p. 6.

 

Macpherson, G. L., C. D. McElwee, J. J. Butler, Jr., and G. S. Bohling, 1996, Water chemistry variation in an alluvial aquifer--Multi-level samplers reveal more than screened wells:  Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 28(7): p. A-460.

 

Schulmeister, M. K. and G. L. Macpherson, 1996, Microscale variability in vertical, horizontal, and temporal chemical gradients in an alluvial aquifer in Kansas:  Geological Society of America, North-Central Mtg., Abstracts with Programs, v.28, no. 6, p. 17

 

Macpherson, G. L., in press, Source(s), fate and residence time of nitrate in groundwater, a comparison of carbonate and alluvial aquifers:  Water Research in Kansas, 1994.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1995, Redox zones and nitrate reduction:  12th Annual Water in the Future of Kansas Conference Proceedings, p. 27-28.

 

Schulmeister, M. K. and G. L. Macpherson, 1994, Spatial and temporal variations in del-15-N --Preliminary evaluation of an alluvial aquifer in Kansas, USA:  GSA Abstracts with Programs, 26(7): 323.

 

Macpherson, G. L., and M. K.Schulmeister, 1994, Nitrate in typical Kansas aquifers:  11th Annual Water and the Future of Kansas Conference, Proceedings, p. 24-25.

 

Schwab, A. P., C. W. Rice, W. Dodds, M. Sophocleous, M. K. Banks, J. K. Koelliker, and G. L. Macpherson, 1994, NSF EPSCoR--  Biotic and abiotic factors controlling nitrogen flux in prisine and agricultural subsurface systems:  11th Annual Water and the Future of Kansas Proceedings, p. 44.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1994, Source(s), fate and residence time of nitrate in groundwater, a comparison of carbonate and alluvial aquifers:  Water Research in Kansas, 1993, p. 5.

 

Macpherson, G. L., 1993, Hydrogeology of the N4d watershed, Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas:  Fifth Annual Konza Prairie LTER Workshop, p. 27.

 

Schwab, A. P., C. W. Rice, W. K. Dodds, M. K. Banks, J. K. Koelliker, W. Macpherson, and M. Sophocleous, 1993, NSF EPSCoR--Biotic and abiotic factors controlling nitrogen flux in pristine and agricultural subsurface systems:  Fifth Annual Konza Prairie LTER Workshop, p. 35.

 

Related Supervised Theses, Dissertations

Schulmeister, Marcia K., 2000, Hydrology and geochemistry of an alluvial aquifer near a floodplain margin:  University of Kansas, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 132 pp. (supervisor, G. L. Macpherson)

 

McVay, Elizabeth , 2000,  Geomicrobial denitrifying and nitrifying characteristics of a nitrate-contaminated alluvial aquifer, northeastern Kansas: University of Kansas, unpublished MS thesis, 116 pp. (supervisor, G. L. Macpherson)

 

Kidwell, Jessica Pursley, 1999, Nitrate distribution and reduction in a semi-confined alluvial aquifer; Geohydrologic Experimental and Monitoring Site (GEMS), Douglas County, Kansas: University of Kansas, unpublished MS thesis, 99 pp. (supervisor, G. L. Macpherson)

 

Hall, Jenney M., 1998, Nitrate in a confined, alluvial aquifer, Douglas County, Kansas: University of Kansas, unpublished MS thesis, 110 pp. (supervisor, G. L. Macpherson)