Advertisement

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 151, Issue 1–4, pp 135–142 | Cite as

Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Synthetic and Organic Sources of Nitrate Water Contamination in Spain

  • M. D. Curt
  • P. Aguado
  • G. Sánchez
  • M. Bigeriego
  • J. Fernández
Article

Abstract

This work aims to identify the sources of nitrogencontamination in nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) of Spain by means of the nitrogen isotope method. Three categories of nitrogen sources (synthetic fertilisers, animal wastes, and sludges and effluents from waste-water treatment plants) from three NVZs were analysed for their nitrogen isotopic composition (δ15N) in order to assess the applicability of the method to the identification of these N sources. The mean δ15N values were: +1.48‰ for synthetic fertilisers, +15.98‰ for animal wastes and +11.52‰ for sludges and effluents. The synthetic fertiliser sources were significantly different from the organic sources and so, the method can be used for their identification. The highest variability was found within the animal waste category. The range of values found for the different kinds of animal wastes (+5.86 to +36.74) was very wide and overlappedthe range found for sludges and effluents from waste-water treatmentplants (+4.57 to +20.18). Accordingly, these two nitrogen sources areisotopically indistinguishable.

fertiliser nitrogen organic wastes stable isotopes water contamination 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arling, J.: 1999, 'Nitrogen Entering West Falmouth Harbor: Sources and their Relative Importance', Project Report of the MBL Course on Environmental Science, Marine Biological Laboratory, Massachusetts, 13 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Battaglin, W. A., Kendall, D., Goolsby, D. A. and Boyer, L. L.: 1997, 'Plan of Study to Determine if the Isotopic Ratios ? 15N and ? 18O can Reveal the Sources of Nitrate Discharged by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico', U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-230, 18 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Canter, L. W.: 1997, Nitrates in Groundwater, Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  4. Hauck, R. D., Bartholomew, W. V., Bremner, J. M., Broadbent, F. E., Cheng, H. H., Edwards, A. P., Keeney, D. R., Legg, J. O., Olsen, S. R. and Porter, L. K.: 1972, 'Use of variations in natural nitrogen isotope abundance for environmental studies: A questionable approach', Science 177, 453–456.Google Scholar
  5. Katz, B. G. and Hornsby, H. D.: 1998, 'A Preliminary Assessment of Sources of Nitrate in Springwaters, Suwannee River Basin, Florida', U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 98-69, 17 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Kendall, C.: 1998, 'Tracing Nitrogen Sources and Cycling in Catchments', in C. Kendall and J. J. McDonnell (eds.), Isotope Tracers in Catchment Hydrology, Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, pp. 519–576.Google Scholar
  7. Kohl, D. H., Shearer, G. B. and Commoner, B.: 1971, 'Fertilizer nitrogen: Contribution to nitrate in surface water in a corn belt watershed', Science 174, 1331–1334.Google Scholar
  8. Mulvaney, R. L.: 1993, 'Mass Spectrometry', in R. Knowles and T. H. Blackburn (eds), Nitrogen Isotope Techniques, Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp. 11–57.Google Scholar
  9. Rolston, D. E., Fogg, G. E., Decker, D. L. and Louie, D. T.: 1994, 'Nitrogen Isotope Ratios of Natural and Anthropogenic Nitrate in the Subsurface', Proceedings of the XXV Congress of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, Adelaide, Australia, 21–25 November 1994, 7 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Victòria, L., Soler, A., Aravena, R. and Canals, A.: 2001, 'La Contaminación Agrícola por Nitratos en Aguas Subterráneas: Caracterización a Partir de Datos Hidrogeoquímicos e Isótopos Estables (N, O, C, S)', in Medina and Carrera (eds), Actas del Congreso sobre Las caras del agua subterránea, Barcelona, Spain, 19–21 September 2001, pp. 403–411.Google Scholar
  11. Wassenaar, L. I.: 1995, 'Evaluation of the origin and fate of nitrate in the Abbotsford aquifer using the isotopes of 15N and 18O in NO? 3', Appl. Geochem. 10(4), 391–405.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Curt
    • 1
  • P. Aguado
    • 1
  • G. Sánchez
    • 1
  • M. Bigeriego
    • 2
  • J. Fernández
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Producción Vegetal: Botánica y Protección VegetalUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Dirección General de Ganadería del Ministerio de AgriculturaPesca y AlimentaciónMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations