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Water Res. 2005 Jan;39(1):3-16.

Non-agricultural sources of groundwater nitrate: a review and case study.

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Facultad de Ciencias Químicas e Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Calzada Universidad, Mesa de Otay, Tijuana, Baja California, México.


Nitrate is often seen as an agricultural pollutant of groundwater and so is expected to be at higher concentrations in the groundwaters surrounding a city than in those beneath it. However the difference between rural and urban nitrate concentrations is often small, due to the non-agricultural sources of nitrogen that are concentrated in cities. This paper illustrates the source and significance of non-agricultural nitrogen for groundwater and presents a case study of nitrate loading in the city of Nottingham. Major sources of nitrogen in urban aquifers are related to wastewater disposal (on-site systems and leaky sewers), solid waste disposal (landfills and waste tips). The major sources of nitrogen in the Nottingham area are mains leakage and contaminated land with approximately 38% each of a total load of 21 kg N ha(-1) year(-1).

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