Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: doi:10.22028/D291-37466
Title: Spring waters as an indicator of nitrate and pesticide pollution of rural watercourses from nonpoint sources: results of repeated monitoring campaigns since the early 2000s in the low mountain landscape of Saarland, Germany
Author(s): Weber, Gero
Kubiniok, Jochen
Language: English
Title: Environmental Sciences Europe
Volume: 34
Publisher/Platform: Springer Nature
Year of Publication: 2022
Free key words: Nitrates
Nonpoint-source inputs
Intensive agriculture
DDC notations: 570 Life sciences, biology
Publikation type: Journal Article
Abstract: Background: Spring waters, which are fed mainly by near-surface groundwater, provide a comprehensive picture of emissions of nitrate and other pollutants caused by the type and intensity of land use in the topographic catchment area. One aim of this study was to develop a model for predicting the contribution of nonpoint-source inputs to the nitrate load of small- and medium-sized watercourses based on the type of agricultural use in the catchment areas. Methods: Fifty-five springs in the German Land Saarland and the adjacent Rhineland-Palatinate were monitored for pollutants during three monitoring periods of at least 12 months between 2000 and 2019. The catchment areas are representative of the natural regions in the study area and are outside the influence of settlements and other developments. In addition to nitrate and other physicochemical parameters, 25 agriculturally impacted springs were screened for pesticides and their metabolites. Results: Since the first measurements were taken in 2000, the vast majority of agriculturally impacted springs have consistently exhibited high nitrate concentrations of between 20 and 40 mg/L NO3−. Springs not influenced by agriculture contained an average of 3.6 mg/L nitrate. The extreme values observed in the early 2000s decreased to the limit value of 50 mg/L, but most of the springs with moderate levels exhibited an increase to approximately 30 mg/L. The number of pesticidal agents detected in the spring waters demonstrated a clear correlation with the watershed’s amount of arable land and the nitrate content detected. Moreover, we found a highly significant correlation between nitrate content and the share of cropland in the catchment area. From this, we derived a regression model that could be used to quantify the share of nitrate pollution attributable to nonpoint-source inputs for larger catchments in the region under investigation. Conclusion: Nitrate discharged from farmland has not decreased since the European Water Framework Directive (EU WFD) entered into force. At the historically extremely heavily polluted sites, measures have been implemented that have led to compliance with the limit value of the Nitrate Directive. However, below this limit, nitrate levels have increased significantly almost everywhere in the last two decades. We therefore recommend introducing stricter requirements for official water pollution control, such as the marine ecological target value.
DOI of the first publication: 10.1186/s12302-022-00632-0
URL of the first publication:
Link to this record: urn:nbn:de:bsz:291--ds-374666
ISSN: 2190-4707
Date of registration: 30-Sep-2022
Faculty: HW - Fakultät für Empirische Humanwissenschaften und Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Department: HW - Geographie
Professorship: HW - Prof. Dr. Jochen Kubiniok
Collections:SciDok - Der Wissenschaftsserver der Universität des Saarlandes

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