Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Burton, Elizabeth A.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geology


Plant nutrients--Illinois--Gurnee; Fertilizers--Environmental aspects--Illinois--Gurnee; Water--Pollution--Illinois--Gurnee; Wetland ecology--Illinois--Gurnee


Fertilizer-based pollutants have become a source of surface water contamination in heavily developed areas. This is a case study in which grab samples were taken from surface water at nine locations in a wetland complex adjacent to a golf course receiving fertilizer inputs at a site in Gurnee, Illinois. The samples were analyzed for pH, as well as nitrite, phosphate and sulfate by liquid chromatography. The results were plotted by location over the sampling period to compare trends over the growing season, and by several paths through the wetland to show trends in concentrations of contaminants in water moving through the wetland complex. These results were also compared to records of fertilizer application on the adjacent golf course. In general, the levels of nitrite were observed to decrease over the growing season. The evidence of attenuation throughout the wetland complex was not as conclusive along most of the paths discussed in the text, and other potential influences are discussed. Phosphate was not observed in the analysis, a finding which was not consistent with golf course fertilizer records. Sulfate concentrations generally decreased over the growing season, but responded more directly to fertilizer inputs than did nitrites. Levels of pH in the grab samples also are correlated with the concentration of nitrites; lower pH levels at the end of the growing season corresponded with lower overall nitrite concentrations while higher pH levels earlier in the growing season corresponded to higher nitrite levels. Correlations between pH and sulfate levels were not detected. ABSTRACT One of the important functions of constructed and preserved wetlands in developed areas is thought to be the enhancement of surface water quality. In wetlands associated with golf courses, which receive heightened fertilizer inputs, the attenuation of fertilizer based pollutants may not be as great as previously thought.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [77]-79)


vi, 97 pages




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