Coupled radon, methane and nitrate sensors for large-scale assessment of groundwater discharge and non-point source pollution to coastal waters
Henderson, Paul B.
Charette, Matthew A.
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KeywordNon-point source pollution; Submarine groundwater discharge; Methane; Radon; Nitrate; Waquoit Bay; Boston Harbor
We constructed a survey system of radon/methane/nitrate/salinity to find sites of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) and groundwater nitrate input. We deployed the system in Waquoit Bay and Boston Harbor, MA where we derived SGD rates using a mass balance of radon with methane serving as a fine resolution qualitative indicator of groundwater. In Waquoit Bay we identified several locations of enhanced groundwater discharge, out of which two (Childs and Quashnet Rivers) were studied in more detail. The Childs River was characterized by high nitrate input via groundwater discharge, while the Quashnet River SGD was notable but not a significant source of nitrate. Our radon survey of Boston Harbor revealed several sites with significant SGD, out of these Inner Harbor and parts of Dorchester Bay and Quincy Bay had groundwater fluxes accompanied by significant water column nitrogen concentrations. The survey system has proven effective in revealing areas of SGD and non-point source pollution.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 101 (2010): 553-563, doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2009.12.004.
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