Research on Nutrient Pollution
Nutrient Research Topics
- Sustainable Watersheds
EPA develops the models and tools needed to achieve sustainable solutions for managing nutrients in our watersheds.
- Nitrogen Mapping
Researchers are creating an inventory of nitrogen sources in the U.S. and mapping the movement of nitrogen from its source into the air, water, and land. Using this data, researchers can better understand nitrogen trends in different regions across time periods.
- Nutrient Reductions in Water Runoff
EPA is working with the U.S. Geological Survey and the state of Iowa to develop methods for lowering sediment and nutrient pollution in surface waters draining into the Mississippi River Basin. The results of this research will help protect and restore watersheds and improve water quality throughout the entire Midwest.
- Advanced Nutrient Monitoring
EPA is studying new innovative technologies that will measure nutrient pollution in the air and water using satellites, portable and ground remote sensors as well as measurement and model data. These technologies enhance current monitoring activities and also provide cheaper and faster information on nutrients and other pollutants.
- Integrated Nitrogen Modeling
Researchers are using a community multiscale air quality modeling system to understand the life cycle of nitrogen from its release into the atmosphere to deposition on land and water. Using this model, researchers can develop scenarios and compile information that can be used to manage nitrogen use and impacts.
- Nitrogen Deposition
EPA is improving its knowledge of the total amount of reactive nitrogen in the air and how it is deposited onto land and water.
- Climate Change and Nitrogen Interaction
Climate change may alter the impacts that nitrogen has on land and water. Researchers are using atmospheric monitoring, field measurements, and modeling to study the interactions between climate change and nitrogen and how this interaction may negatively impact land and water. The research is determining how to protect the environment and our natural resources from any negative effects of climate change and nitrogen.
- Nutrient Recovery
One of EPA's research goals is to focus on recycling resources rather than only treating waste products. For example, the high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater could be used as nutrient resources for farming, rather than being dumped back into water bodies already overloaded with these nutrients.
- Narragansett Bay Nutrient Case Study
A case study involving an integrated and sustainable research and management approach is focusing on Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, including its watershed and air shed. Researchers are investigating how changes in nitrogen release into water bodies and climate impact watersheds and water quality. The research will be used to help restore and protect watersheds and highly valued water resources.
- Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Case Study
EPA researchers are developing 3-D water flow and water quality models of the northern Gulf of Mexico dead zone as well as the Mississippi River Basin. The research is being done to understand the multiple nutrient sources, nutrient movement patterns, and impacts along the freshwater Basin and through to the Gulf's marine environment.
- Yakima River Basin Case Study
EPA and US Geological Survey researchers are working together to identify sources and impacts of nitrogen in the lower Yakima River Basin, a local source of drinking water. Using USGS and EPA data and models, researchers are working to pinpoint the major sources of nitrogen pollution and track its movement through groundwater in the basin.
- Guánica Bay Case Study
The multi-agency U.S. Coral Reef Task Force initiated a program to address sediment and nutrient pollution of coral reefs in the Puerto Rico's Guánica bay watershed.
EPA’s Research Articles and Reports
- Science Inventory "Nitrogen or Phosphorus" Search Results
- Nutrient Control Design Manual
- Integrated Science Assessment for Oxides of Nitrogen and Sulfur Ecological Criteria
- Report on the Environment – Nitrogen Oxides Emissions
- Riparian Buffer Width, Vegetative Cover, and Nitrogen Removal Effectiveness: A Review of Current Science and Regulations
- Fate and Effects of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Shallow Vegetated Aquatic Ecosystems
- An Approach for Developing Nutrient Criteria for a Gulf Coast Estuary (EPA 600-R-08-004, January 2008)
- Ecological Condition of Coastal Ocean and Estuarine Waters of the U.S. South Atlantic Bight: 2000-2004 (EPA 600-R-10-046, May 2010)
- Stony Coral Rapid Bioassessment Protocol (EPA 600-R-06-167, July 2007)
- An Approach to Developing Nutrient Criteria for Pacific Northwest Estuaries: A Case Study of Yaquina Estuary, Oregon)
- Classification of Regional Patterns of Environmental Drivers And Benthic Habitats in Pacific Northwest Estuaries