Advertisement

Groundwater nitrogen speciation in intensively cultivated lowland areas

  • N. Colombani
  • E. Salemi
  • M. Mastrocicco
  • G. Castaldelli
Part of the Environmental Earth Sciences book series (EESCI)

Abstract

The study was conducted in Ferrara Province (Italy), a lowland area covering 2636 km2, located in the southern part of the Po River Delta. It is an intensively cultivated area, with more than 50% of land cultivated with winter cereals (32.11%) and maize (22.63%). The main nitrogen fertilizer used in this area is synthetic urea which is suspected to cause nitrate leaching towards shallow groundwater. A network of 56 piezometers, homogeneously distributed throughout the whole area, was installed in order to monitor both water table fluctuations and nitrogen species distributions in the shallow aquifer, over time. Data collected at the end of November 2010 were used to obtain maps of water table, urea (CO(NH2)2), ammonium (NH4 +), nitrate (NO3 -) and nitrite (NO2 -) distributions. Maps show an accumulation of NH4 + overlapping a stagnant zone, where drained peaty soils are present. The peaty soils are characterized by a pH ranging between moderately acid and slightly acid, and by high values of organic matter content. Along the drainage line induced by peaty soils dewatering, the flow velocity is very low or almost motionless, determining anaerobic conditions. Instead, the largest accumulation NO3 - is observed in the Eastern part of the province, where the groundwater head gradient is higher and soils are characterized by values of pH that range between 8.1 and 8.3, providing the best conditions for nitrification processes.

Keywords

Soil Organic Matter Shallow Aquifer Lowland Area Stagnant Zone Water Table Fluctuation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Almasri MN, Kaluarachchi JJ (2007) Modeling nitrate contamination of groundwater in agricultural watersheds. J. of Hydrol. 343, 211-229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appelo CAJ, Postma D (2005) Geochemistry, groundwater and pollution, 2nd Edition, Balkema, Rotterdam, The NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Böhlke JK, Wanty R, Tuttle M, Delin G, Landon M (2002) Denitrification in the recharge area and discharge area of a transient agricultural nitrate plume in a glacial outwash sand aquifer, Minnesota. Wat. Resour. Res. 38(7), 10.1-10.26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bower CF & Holm-Hansen T (1980) A salicylate-hypoclorite method for determining ammonia in seawater. Canadian J. of Aquatic Sci. 37: 794-798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cinnirella S, Buttafuoco G, Pirronea N (2005) Stochastic analysis to assess the spatial distribution of groundwater NO3-concentrations in the Po catchment (Italy). Environ. Poll. 133, 569–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. FAO, IFA (2001) Global estimates of gaseous emissions of NH3 NO and N2O from agricultural land. FAO, IFA Rome 106. Available from http://www.fertilizer.org/ifaGoogle Scholar
  7. Galloway JN, Townsend AR, Erisman JW, Bekunda M, Cai Z, Freney JR, Martinelli LA, Seitzinger SP, Sutton MA (2008) Transformation of the nitrogen cycle: recent trends, questions, and potential solutions. Science 320, 889-892CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Glibert PM, Harrison J, Heil CA, Seitzinger S (2006) Escalating worldwide use of urea - a global change contributing to coastal eutrophication. Biogeochemistry 77, 441-463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. IUSS Working Group WRB (2006) World reference base for soil resources 2006. World Soil Resources Reports No. 103. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  10. Mastrocicco M, Colombani N, Castaldelli G, Jovanovic N (2010a). Monitoring and modeling nitrate persistence in a shallow aquifer. Water Air and Soil Pollution 217(1-4), 83-93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mastrocicco M, Colombani N, Salemi E, Castaldelli G (2010b) Numerical assessment of effective evapotranspiration from maize plots to estimate groundwater recharge in lowlands. Agricult. Wat. Manag. 97(9), 1389-1398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mastrocicco M, Colombani N, Palpacelli S, Castaldelli G (2010c) Large tank experiment on nitrate fate and transport: the role of permeability distribution. Environ. Earth Sci. DOI: 10.1007/s12665-010-0759-0Google Scholar
  13. Onorati G, Di Meo T, Bussettini M, Fabiani C, Farrace MG, Fava A, Ferronato A, Mion F, Marchetti G, Martinelli A and Mazzoni M (2006) Groundwater quality monitoring in Italy for the implementation of the EU water framework directive. Phys. and Chem. of the Earth 31, 1004-1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Palmieri L, Bendoricchio G and Artioli Y (2005) Modelling nutrient emissions from river systems and loads to the coastal zone: Po River case study, Italy. Ecolog. Model. 184, 37-53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Price NM, Harrison PJ (1987) Comparison of methods for the analysis of dissolved urea in seawater. Mar. Biol. 94, 307-317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Rivett MO, Buss SR, Morgan P, Smith JWN, Bemment CD (2008) Nitrate attenuation in groundwater: A review of biogeochemical controlling processes. Wat. Res. 42, 421-4232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sankhayan SD and Shukla UC (1976) Rates of urea hydrolysis in five soils of India. Geoderma 16:171-178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Soil Survey Staff (1999) Soil taxonomy: A basic system of soil classification for making and interpreting soil surveys. 2nd ed. Natural Resources Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture Handbook 436Google Scholar
  19. Tesoriero AJ, Liebscher H, Cox SE (2000) Mechanism and rate of denitrification in an agricultural watershed: Electron and mass balance along groundwater flow paths. Wat. Resour. Res. 36 (6), 1545-1559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Thayalakumaran T, Bristow K L, Charlesworth PB, Fass T (2008) Geochemical conditions in groundwater systems: Implications for the attenuation of agricultural nitrate. Agricult. Wat. Manag. 95, 103-115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wakida FT, Lerner DN (2005) Non-agricultural sources of groundwater nitrate: A review and case study. Wat. Res. 39 (1), 3-16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wriedt G, Rode M (2006) Modelling nitrate transport and turnover in a lowland catchment system. J. of Hydrol. 328, 157-176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yadav DS, Kumar V, Signh M and Relan PS (1987) Effects of temperature and moisture on kinetics of urea hydrolysis and nitrification. Aust. J. Soil Res. 25: 185-191CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Colombani
    • 1
  • E. Salemi
    • 1
  • M. Mastrocicco
    • 1
  • G. Castaldelli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Department of of Biology and EvolutionUniversity of FerraraFerraraItaly

Personalised recommendations