Report Assesses Nutrient Pollution in U.S. Streams and Aquifers


  • Randy Showstack


Concentrations of nutrients in many U.S. streams and aquifers have remained the same or have increased since the early 1990s, according to a new decadal assessment entitled “Nutrients in the nation's streams and groundwater, 1992–2004,” released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on 24 September.

“Despite improvements in water quality made by reducing point sources of nutrients, our data show that nonpoint sources of nutrients have resulted in concentrations of both nitrogen and phosphorus far above criteria recommended by [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] for the protection of aquatic life,” Neil Dubrovsky, project chief for USGS's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, said at a briefing when the report was released. While USGS continues to sample for nutrient concentrations, the report assessment period concluded in 2004.