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Web Date: July 9, 2010

Recalculating Water Treatment Plants' Nitrogen Impact

Water Pollution: Bioavailable nitrogen levels may jump after wastewater leaves treatment plants and hits saltier rivers
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: nitrogen, wastewater, dissolved organic nitrogen, phytoplankton bloom, treatment plants, , Chesapeake, dead zones

Nitrogen compounds in the runoff from wastewater treatment plants can feed microbes in nearby ocean ecosystems, fueling oxygen-depleted dead zones and toxic algal blooms. A new study of how the runoff's chemistry changes as it moves toward the ocean (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI: 10.1021/es101115g) suggests that plants may release more microbe-friendly nitrogen than researchers previously thought.

Bacteria and phytoplankton feed on inorganic nitrogen . . .

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