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Developing Novel Techniques for Measuring In Situ Groundwater Nitrate Concentrations, Vertical Geochemical Profiling, and Real-time Remote Groundwater Quality Monitoring

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Title: Developing Novel Techniques for Measuring In Situ Groundwater Nitrate Concentrations, Vertical Geochemical Profiling, and Real-time Remote Groundwater Quality Monitoring
Author: MacDonald, Graeme
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Levison, Jana
Abstract: Advanced field measurement techniques are required to improve our understanding of nitrate fate and transport in groundwater. This study applied innovative sensor equipment to develop novel techniques for in situ groundwater quality monitoring. Three unique methods were developed: modified flow cell testing, vertical geochemical profiling, and real-time remote monitoring (RTRM). While nitrate was the contaminant of focus, additional parameters including temperature, pH, EC, DO, turbidity, and groundwater levels were also monitored. Testing was conducted in different hydrogeological systems ranging from unconfined sandy aquifers (Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada) to fractured Silurian bedrock aquifers (Guelph, Ontario). Nitrate sensor readings were strongly correlated (R2=0.994) to laboratory measurements obtained using traditional purging methods. RTRM techniques allowed for hourly groundwater quality monitoring over several months. The high temporal resolution datasets obtained will support future nitrate transport modeling initiatives and complement field projects in which detailed in situ nitrate measurements are desired.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9155
Date: 2015-08
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