New Journal Article from Cape Cod Toxics Site Examines Fate of Groundwater Nitrogen Discharging to a Lake

Release Date:

On July 19, a new journal article from the Cape Cod Toxic Substances Hydrology team was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Biogeosciences.  New England WSC co-authors include Denis LeBlanc and Tim McCobb.  The study was partly supported by the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon, South Korea.

The study examined what happens to nitrate, a primary wastewater contaminant in groundwater, as contaminated groundwater flows upward into the bottom of Ashumet Pond, a freshwater lake on Cape Cod. Nitrate can serve as a fertilizer within the lake, causing a decrease in the quality of the lake water and potentially contributing to the growth of harmful algae. Groundwater nitrate discharged into the lake primarily near the lake shore, but the location of the discharge moved as the lake level rose and fell. Only a fraction of the nitrate passing through the sediments was removed before the groundwater exited into the lake because rapid flow through the lake‐bottom sediments limited the time for biogeochemical nitrate removal to occur.

Smith, R.L., Repert, D.A., Stoliker, D.L., Kent, D.B., Song, B., LeBlanc, D.R., McCobb, T.D., Böhlke, J.K., Hyun, S.P., and Moon, H.S., 2019, Seasonal and spatial variation in the location and reactivity of a nitrate-contaminated groundwater discharge zone in a lakebed: Journal of Geophysical Research—Biogeosciences [early online view July 19, 2019, prior to inclusion in an issue], http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018JG004635.