Groundwater nutrients and contaminants affecting surface waters (SS-GH12)


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Groundwater nutrients and contaminants affecting surface waters (SS-GH12)

James Roy (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and Clare Robinson (University of Western Ontario)

Leaders and affiliations :  James Roy (Environment and Climate Change Canada); Clare Robinson (University of Western Ontario)

Description : Groundwater quality can be impaired by a variety of contaminants, including nutrients, through human activities and by contact with natural geologic materials. The aim of this session is to investigate the contribution of groundwater nutrients and other contaminants to nearby surface waters (streams, wetlands, lakes, estuaries, oceans) and how they can influence aquatic ecosystems. Groundwater contaminants may be directly harmful to aquatic life or drive changes in other water quality conditions that impair ecosystem functioning. Groundwater-sourced nutrients may contribute to eutrophication or algal blooms, especially phosphorus inputs to freshwater systems and nitrogen inputs to marine systems. These groundwater-sourced contaminants may impact ecosystem health at the location of groundwater discharge, but also to the broader surface water body via mass loading. Meanwhile, processes in mixing zones at the groundwater surface water interface may considerably affect the discharge of contaminants and their ultimate impact on receiving surface waters. Related studies on methods i) to identify and quantify groundwater nutrient / contaminant mass fluxes, ii) to elucidate processes occurring at the groundwater-surface water interface that affect contaminant fate, and iii) to assess ecological impacts are also welcome.

Invited speakers: Nandita Basu (University of Waterloo); Ursula McKnight (Technical University of Denmark); Audrey Sawyer (University of Ohio)