Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Burton, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology


Groundwater--Pollution--West (U.S.); Agricultural pollution--West (U.S.); Rainwater--West (U.S.); Water-supply; Agricultural--West (U.S.)


Is there a relationship between the use of fertilizers and/or other agricultural practices with the constituent chemical composition of wet deposition? Besides the amount of fertilizer that leaches into the soil and eventually into the water table or is transported away by surface runoff to possibly a recharge area, rainwater does contain nitrates, ammonium compounds and phosphates, among other chemical constituents, that can contaminate the water table. This investigation attempts to establish a baseline for groundwater contamination. In addition, this study endeavors to show a relationship between regional and local agricultural practices and their effect upon wet deposition - rain and snow. Twenty-one sites were selected from within approximately the Northwest quadrant of the continental United States. In addition to a description of each selected site, a discussion of the agricultural practices or other pertinent information are given. The precipitation data that was analyzed was obtained from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program network of stations. A brief discussion of cloud dynamics and its affect upon rain chemistry is also given. The results of this investigation show that there is a positive (80%+) correlation with the location and the amount of nitrogen rich fertilizers used with the resultant concentration of nitrates and ammonium ions in rainwater. In addition, there is a similar correlation with nitrate deposition (lbs/acre/yr) deposited on the soil. For the regions surrounding the sites selected a table was created depicting the amount of Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, NH4+, N03'f Cl", and S04'2 that was deposited on the soil on a yearly basis at least since 1985. Supplementary data was provided for those sites that were in operation between 1979 and 1985.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [129]-135)


viii, 177 pages




Northern Illinois University

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