GLRPPR Sector Resource: Excess Nutrients: A High Profile Water-Quality Issue
Excess Nutrients: A High Profile Water-Quality Issue
The impact of excess nitrogen and phosphorus in rivers, lakes, streams and the Gulf of Mexico has become a very high profile water quality issue. Under the right conditions, nutrients can cause excessive algal blooms, low oxygen and nuisance conditions that adversely impact aquatic life, drinking water and recreational uses of the water. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has identified many waterbodies in the state with these problems.
Nitrogen and phosphorus come from municipal wastewater treatment, urban stormwater, row crop agriculture, livestock production, industrial wastewater and combustion of fossil fuels. In other words, most aspects of modern society contribute to this pollution problem. The proportion of loading to a particular waterbody from these sources varies from watershed to watershed, with point sources and urban stormwater being most important in urbanized watersheds and row crop and/or livestock production being predominant contributors in agricultural watersheds.
A Nutrient Summit was held on September 13-14, 2010, at the University of Illinois-Springfield. Invitees included over 250 people representing government, environmental groups, municipal and industrial wastewater dischargers, agricultural groups, academia, non-governmental organizations, and consulting firms with an interest in the topic of nutrient pollution.
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