An Evaluation of Nitrogen Concentrations in the Neuse River Basin

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Title: An Evaluation of Nitrogen Concentrations in the Neuse River Basin
Author: Norton, April
Abstract: Norton, April. Master of Environmental Assessment. An Evaluation of Nitrogen Concentrations in the Neuse River Basin Excessive nutrient loading has been a water quality concern in the Neuse River Basin since before the 1990’s. Efforts to minimize water quality impairment were accelerated in the mid-1990’s, resulting in the implementation of the Neuse River nitrogen (N) reduction strategy, mandated by the Environmental Management Commission (EMC). The reduction strategy requires a 30% N reduction in the average annual load to the Neuse River Estuary from point and nonpoint sources, for the period 1991 – 1995. This study evaluates the mean annual load of N in the Neuse River and tributaries of the Neuse River, comparing the 1991 – 1995 study period to the 2007 – 2015 study period. The data used in this study was provided by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources, Basin Planning Section. Twenty-three sites were evaluated in this study. For consistency, monitoring sites for which data were not available for all study years (1991 – 1995 and 2007 – 2015) were excluded from the analysis. Site specific calculations of means and standard errors of the means were conducted using Microsoft EXCEL. Two overall analyses were conducted; one showing the trends over time across all monitoring sites and a second showing the N concentrations at individual monitoring sites across all years in each study period. This study shows that nitrate-nitrite (NOx) concentrations decreased, ammonia (NH3) concentrations remained relatively constant, and total Kjeldahl N (TKN) increased. However, total nitrogen (TN) concentrations decreased approximately 15 % in the Neuse River during the 2007 – 2015 study period and TN in tributaries of the Neuse River decreased 42%. While the mandatory 30% N reduction has not been met at the Fort Barnwell monitoring site (considered the mouth of the river and used as the baseline), there has been a 23% decrease which shows that significant progress has been made.
Date: 2019-05-10
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/36701


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