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Spatial and Temporal Nitrate Concentrations in an Unconfined Aquifer

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 189-192 in Preferential Flow, Water Movement and Chemical Transport in the Environment, Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. (3-5 January 2001, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), eds. D. D. Bosch and K. W. King. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASAE  701P0006.(doi:10.13031/2013.2090)
Authors:   Eric Desmond, Andy Ward, Scott Bair, Norm Fausey, Stephen Workman
Keywords:   nitrates, unsaturated flow, unconfined aquifer, multiport wells, vacuum lysimeter

In 1990, the multi-agency Management Systems Evaluation Areas Program was established in the Midwest Region of the United States. As part of this study a systems approach was used to evaluate solute transport through the vadose zone into the Scioto River buried valley aquifer in southern Ohio. The water table in this unconfined aquifer normally ranges from 2 to 7 m below the soil surface. Measurements on soil cores, tracer tests, vacuum lysimeters, and multiport wells were used to measure agrichemical movement from the ground surface, through the vadose zone, and into the aquifer. Multiport wells had sampling ports at about 4, 5, 6, and 7 meters. A centrally located well in each of three 10 ha plots also had ports at 12 and 18 m. The Scioto River flows about 1 km from the plot site which is located on the 260 ha Vanmeter farm in Pike County, Ohio. Fluventic hapludoll and fluventic eutrochrept silt loams are the predominant soil series and overlie sands that grade into gravel at a depth of 2-3 m. This paper will describe the monitoring systems and will present an analysis of well nitrate data that was obtained during a period of nearly a decade. The nitrate concentration data found in samples taken from the multiport wells was generally not found to be related to agricultural management system differences.

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