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Problem: Eutrophication

Nitrates are necessary nutrients for algae and phytoplankton growth. Discharge of nitrates to surface water bodies greatly accelerates the natural process of eutrophication, causing algal blooms which ultimately lead to depleted oxygen levels and generally poor water quality. Eutrophication contributes to fish kills, loss of riparian habitat, death of beneficial aquatic insects, and taste and odor problems. Eutrophication also increases the treatment costs of surface water for municipal consumption (Pimental, 1997). In Europe, where nitrates have historically been a significant problem, nitrate overload has resulted in decreased diversity of flora and fauna (Schrama, 1998).

Andy Wingo 2001-12-10