Two karst springs in the Mississippian Carbonate Aquifer of northern Alabama were sampled between March 1999 and March 2001 to characterize the variability in concentration of nitrate, pesticides, selected pesticide degradates, water temperature, and inorganic constituents. Water temperature and inorganic ion data for McGeehee Spring indicate that this spring represents a shallow flow system with a relatively short average ground-water residence time. Water issuing from the larger of the two springs, Meridianville Spring, maintained a constant temperature, and inorganic ion data indicate that this water represents a deeper flow system having a longer average ground-water residence time than McGeehee Spring. Although water-quality data indicate differing short-term responses to rainfall at the two springs, the seasonal variation of nitrate and pesticide concentrations generally is similar for the two springs. With the exception of pesticides detected at low concentrations, the coefficient of variation for most constituent concentrations was less than that of flow at both springs, with greater variability in concentration at McGeehee Spring. Degradates of the herbicides atrazine and fluometuron were detected at concentrations comparable to or greater than the parent pesticides. Decreases in concentration of the principal degradate of fluometuron from about July to November indicate that the degradation rate may decrease as fluometuron (demethylfluometuron) moves deeper into the soil after application. Data collected during the study show that from about November to March when recharge rates increase, nitrate and residual pesticides in the soil, unsaturated zone, and storage within the aquifer are transported to the spring discharges. Because of the increase in recharge, fluometuron loads discharged from the springs during the winter were comparable to loads discharged at the springs during the growing season. ?? 2008 American Water Resources Association.
Additional Publication Details
Relation between flow and temporal variations of nitrate and pesticides in two karst springs in northern Alabama
Journal of the American Water Resources Association