Prediction of Nitrate Concentration in Stream Water Based on Watershed Land Use and Stream Flow Rate


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by Jingjie Teng, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, tj62@drexel.edu,
Mira Olson, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104,
Patrick Gurian, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104,
Anna Sofranko, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22904,
Janet Herman, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22904,
Aaron Mills, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Rd., Charlottesville, VA 22904,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2009: Great Rivers

Abstract: Non-point source nitrate loading to stream water can be affected by land use, soil type, slope of discharging watershed, water flow rate, and storm events. This study considers the effects of land use type, water flow rate and seasonal and regional variation in order to understand and predict transport of nitrate in stream water discharging from watersheds along Virginia's Eastern Shore. A simple regression analysis was performed to check the relationship between nitrate concentration and land use type. Fertilized land was found to be the strongest contributor to nitrate concentration in stream water. Developed land was also a contributor but with a lower weighting factor. Forested land acted as a significant inhibitor. A predictive model was generated using multiple regression analysis. Besides land use type, nitrate concentration was also significantly influenced by stream flow rate. Other variables, including sampled area, seasonal and regional variation, may be treated as background information, in which they may have some effect on nitrate concentration, but not significantly enough to be included in the predictive model. Therefore, stream nitrate concentration levels can be predicted along the Eastern Shore of Virginia based on land use type and stream flow rate. Predictions may be improved by incorporating other geomorphic or hydrologic information.

Subject Headings: Land use | Water pollution | Streamflow | Nitrates | Flow rates | Watersheds | Water discharge | Water flow | Regression analysis | North America | Virginia | United States

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