Nitrate Contamination Of Groundwater Poses A Serious Health Threat

1646 words - 7 pages

Intro Sample...

Nitrates contamination of the world's underground water supply poses as
a potentially serious health hazard to the human inhabitants on earth.
High nitrate levels found in well water has been proven to be the cause for
numerous health conditions across the globe. If we intend to provide for
the future survival of man, and life on planet earth, we must take action
now to assure the quality of one of our most precious resources, our
underground water supply.
Ground water can be defined as the water stored in the open spaces
within underground rocks and unconsolidated material (Monroe and Wicander
420). Ground water is one of the numerous parts that make up the
hydrologic cycle. The primary source of water in... View More »

Body Sample...

In dry areas,
farmers must irrigate their lands to grow crops. It is estimated that in
the United States, more than 100 billion gallons of fresh water are used
each day for the irrigation of croplands (Funk and Wagnall 2).
Since agriculture is the leading user of our groundwater, perhaps it
is fitting, that it is also the biggest contributor of contaminating
nitrates that work into our water supply each year. Agriculture and
livestock production account for 80% of all nitrogen added to the
environment ( Terry, et al. 1996). Industrial fertilizers make up 53%,
animal manure 27%, atmosphere 14%, and point source 6% (Puckett, 1994).
Just how do these nitrates get from the field into our water supply? There
are two primary reasons that nitrate contaminates reach our underground
water supply and make it unsafe. Number one reason is farmer's bad habits
of consistently over- fertilizing and applying too much nitrogen to the
soil. In 1995 America's agricultural producers added 36 billion pounds of
nitrogen into the environment, 23 billion pounds of supplemental industrial
nitrogen, and 13 billion pounds of extra nitrogen in the form of animal
manure. Twenty percent of this nitrogen was not used by the crops it was
intended. This accounts for about 7-8 billion pounds of excess nitrogen
remaining in the environment where much of it has eventually entered the
reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater that supply us with our drinking water
(NAS 1995). The number two reason these contaminants reach our groundwater
supply runs ...

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