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Water 2016, 8(8), 345; doi:10.3390/w8080345

Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of Groundwater Highly Polluted with Nitrate in an Agricultural Area of Hongseong, Korea

1
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do 561-756, Korea
2
The Earth and Environmental Science System Research Center, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do 561-756, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tamas Komives
Received: 27 June 2016 / Revised: 9 August 2016 / Accepted: 11 August 2016 / Published: 15 August 2016
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Abstract

The hydrogeochemical characteristics of groundwater, in an area where widespread contamination by nitrate ( NO 3 ) was anticipated, were studied using traditional geochemical investigation and multivariate statistical analysis. Widespread NO 3 contamination as high as 67.2 mg/L as NO3–N was observed, and positively correlated with that for chemicals ( Cl , major cations) with surface origin. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that three processes affected groundwater chemistry of the area: (1) leaching of pollutants from the ground surface; (2) reduction of NO 3 in areas with low dissolved oxygen (DO); and (3) ingress of low NO 3 deep groundwater. Five sample groups were identified from cluster analysis, and analysis of land use patterns around each group showed that fate and distribution of NO 3 contamination were mainly controlled by surface topography and predominant land use type. The highest NO 3 concentrations were associated with confined livestock feeding operations in hilly terrain areas, where infiltrating water also had high DO. Lower NO 3 concentrations found in the lowland flat areas were thought to be due to either reducing conditions in rice paddies leading to N attenuation or drawing in of deep groundwater by pumping to meet agricultural needs during periods of low rainfall. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrate; groundwater; confined animal feeding; rice paddy; multivariate statistical analysis nitrate; groundwater; confined animal feeding; rice paddy; multivariate statistical analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, H.-S.; Park, S.-R. Hydrogeochemical Characteristics of Groundwater Highly Polluted with Nitrate in an Agricultural Area of Hongseong, Korea. Water 2016, 8, 345.

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