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Reduce Nitrates from Agricultural Stormwater (Ongoing)


The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 6 is "Reduce nitrates in agricultural runoff and subsurface drainage by 50% from the FY15 baseline by FY22." Nitrogen applications can lead to increased nitrate concentrations in agriculture runoff and subsurface drainage. Under anaerobic conditions, nitrate can be reduced to nitrogen gas and nitrous oxide (a powerful greenhouse gas). Up to 75% of the world’s nitrous oxide emitted into the atmosphere is believed to be due to agricultural nitrogen fertilization. Campus needs to identify the impact of nitrates pollutions on South Farms and implement strategies to reduce them.


The president of Students for Environmental Concerns and the chair of Student Sustainability Leadership Council, Joseph Edwards has delineated the water surface boundaries of our campus using GIS software and identified the spot to test the nitrates concentration. The next step is to collect the water sample and test the water quality according to the spot map in GIS. In addition, the baseline of the runoff in the objective should be clarified or the 50% objective would be meaningless. After these two problems get solved, the next stage can focus on setting the standards and reducing the nitrates. The strategy may require both changes to the timing and extent of fertilizer applications and the installation of equipment to treat subsurface tile drainage.

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