Date of Award
Master of Science (MSc)
Geography and Earth Sciences
Excess nutrients are currently impacting the ecosystem, fisheries, and recreational use of Lake Simcoe. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of groundwater as a pathway for nutrient input during base flow periods to a landfill impacted urban stream in Barrie, Ontario, which flows directly into the lake. A characterization of a 28 m reach was created using sediment and water level data, and a groundwater flux map of the stream was creating using heat tracer methods. This data was combined with the shallow groundwater nutrient concentration distribution measured with multi-level piezometers and diffusion samplers to calculate nutrient discharge. Such fine-scale measurements of nutrient discharge using groundwater-based data like these have not previously been reported. The water flux results were then extrapolated to a larger 460 reach (Site B) of Dyment’s Creek, and combined with groundwater contaminant data from that reach to derive a crude estimate of nutrient discharge at a larger scale. Groundwater soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and ammonium concentrations were much higher than stream concentrations. Estimates of total SRP discharge ranged from 3.6 to 8.1 g/d at Site A and 38 to 108 g/d at Site B, and ammonium discharge ranged from 66 to 218 g/d at Site A and 757 to 2043 g/d at Site B. This study showed that groundwater is an important pathway for nutrients to enter Dyment’s Creek, and this pathway that must be considered when addressing nutrient input to Lake Simcoe.
Fitzgerald, Alexander, "CALCULATING THE GROUNDWATER CONTRIBUTION OF PHOSPHORUS AND NITROGREN TO A SMALL URBAN STREAM, BARRIE, ONTARIO" (2013). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7614.
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