A study of total nitrogen concentrations and loads was conducted from December 2002 to September 2005 at 13 river sites in the upper Connecticut River Basin. Ten sites were selected to represent contributions of nitrogen from forested, agricultural, and urban land. Three sites were distributed spatially on the main stem of the Connecticut River to assess the cumulative total nitrogen loads. To further improve the understanding of the sources and concentrations and loads of total nitrogen in the upper Connecticut River Basin, ambient surface water-quality sampling was supplemented with sampling of effluent from 19 municipal and paper mill wastewater-treatment facilities.
Mean concentrations of total nitrogen ranged from 0.19 to 2.8 milligrams per liter (mg/L) at river sampling sites. Instantaneous mean loads of total nitrogen ranged from 162 to 58,300 pounds per day (lb/d). Estimated mean annual loads of total nitrogen ranged from 49,100 to 21.6 million pounds per year (lb/yr) with about 30 to 55 percent of the loads being transported during the spring. The estimated mean annual yields of total nitrogen ranged from 1,190 to 7,300 pounds per square mile per year (lb/mi2)/yr.
Mean concentrations of total nitrogen ranged from 4.4 to 30 mg/L at wastewater-treatment sampling sites. Instantaneous mean loads of total nitrogen from municipal wastewater-treatment facilities ranged from 36 to 1,780 lb/d. Instantaneous mean loads of total nitrogen from paper mill wastewater-treatment facilities ranged from 96 to 160 lb/d.
The median concentration of total nitrogen was 0.24 mg/L at forested sites, 0.48 mg/L at agricultural sites, 0.54 mg/L at urban sites, 0.48 mg/L at main-stem sites, and 14 mg/L at wastewater-treatment sites. Concentrations of total nitrogen at forested sites were significantly less than at all other site types (p<0.05). Concentrations of total nitrogen at agricultural, urban, and main stem sites were not significantly different among each other (p>0.05) but were significantly greater (p<0.05) than at forested sites and significantly less than concentrations at wastewater-treatment sites (p<0.05). Total nitrogen concentrations at wastewater-treatment sites were significantly different from all other site types (p<0.05).
Annual yields of total nitrogen ranged from 732 to 1,920 (lb/mi2)/yr at forested sites; 1,550 to 2,980 (lb/mi2)/yr at agricultural sites; 1,280 to 1,860 (lb/mi2)/yr at urban sites that were not directly affected by wastewater effluent; 7,090 to 7,770 (lb/mi2)/yr at an urban site directly affected by wastewater effluent; and 1,300 to 2,390 (lb/mi2)/yr at main-stem sites.
In this study, the mean annual load and yield of total nitrogen at the Connecticut River at Wells River, VT, was estimated at 4.47 million lb/yr and 1,690 (lb/mi2)/yr, respectively. The mean annual load and yield of total nitrogen at the Connecticut River at North Walpole, NH, was estimated at 9.60 million lb/yr and 1,750 (lb/mi2)/yr, respectively. The mean annual load and yield of total nitrogen leaving the upper Connecticut River Basin, as estimated at the Connecticut River at Thompsonville, CT, was 21.6 million lb/yr and 2,230 (lb/mi2)/yr, respectively.
|Title||Assessment of total nitrogen in the upper Connecticut River basin in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts, December 2002–September 2005|
|Authors||Jeffrey R. Deacon, Thor E. Smith, Craig M. Johnston, Richard B. Moore, Laura J. Blake, Rebecca M. Weidman|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||New Hampshire-Vermont Water Science Center|