A study from the University of Calgary is raising some disturbing questions about the persistence of nitrogen fertilizer in soils. The study shows that more than 30 years after synthetic nitrogen fertilizer was applied to crops in 1982, a significant percentage of it remains in the soil and continues to seep into groundwater.
The study, carried out in conjunction with the Universite Pierre et Marie Currie in France, used a “fingerprinting” technique to track stable isotopes of nitrogen. It showed that up to 65% of the nitrogen applied to crops was taken up by the plants; the rest remained in the soil’s organic matter for three years after application, and 12 to 15% still remained 30 years later. Researchers predict that low levels of nitrogen from the 1982 fertilizer application will continue to seep into groundwater for at least the next 50 years.
Nitrate is a common groundwater contaminant and poses potential human health risks. Although it is regulated, the study results indicate that it might take far longer than expected to reduce existing nitrogen contamination.
Two Weeks Left to Submit StormCon Abstracts
StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, is now seeking abstracts for presentations at StormCon 2014. The conference will take place August 3 – 7, 2014, in Portland, OR. Abstracts are due November 14, 2013.
We are seeking abstracts in seven conference tracks:
* BMP Case Studies
* Green Infrastructure
* Stormwater Program Management
* Water-Quality Monitoring
* Industrial Stormwater Management
* Advanced Research Topics
* Coastal Protection
More information on the conference and the individual tracks is available at www.StormCon.com, along with an online abstract submittal form.