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Nitrates are an essential component of fertilizers, both man-made and natural (i.e. manure). However, if nitrates become dissolved in irrigation or rainwater, they can leach into groundwater or run off into surface water, causing serious water quality degradation. The three main sources of nitrate contributions to the environment are as follows, with the first two sources directly resulting from agricultural production (Schrama, 1998):


Andy Wingo 2001-12-10