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Groundwater Nitrogen Source Identification and Remediation in the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains Regions

P. Delaune, B. Scanlon, R. Reedy, R. Schwartz, L. Baumhardt, L. Gregory

Nitrogen in groundwater, more specifically nitrate, is common in certain areas and is often associated with agricultural production or urban areas underlain by coarse soils. While the presence of nitrates in groundwater is not debated, the specific sources or cause of the elevated nitrate in these areas is often questioned. The Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains regions are two areas in the state where elevated nitrates are readily found in groundwater and such questions regarding its cause and source are raised. These areas include portions of the Ogallala and Seymour Aquifers which both exhibit elevated nitrates in certain areas.

In an effort to address questions about sources and causes of elevated groundwater nitrate and to provide sound data on potential management strategies that can remediate groundwater nitrate levels, this project was developed. The primary objective was to identify sources of groundwater nitrate in the Texas High Plains and Rolling Plains and the secondary objective was to evaluate and demonstrate strategies and practices for reducing nitrate levels in these same areas. Collectively, this effort was able to provide insight into the potential sources of nitrate found in groundwater while also demonstrating how available nitrates can be captured as a beneficial resource and effectively removed from the underlying aquifer.


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