Environmental Protection Agency Standards During The New River Lagoon

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Due to continued rainfall in December of 2014, the water level in the New River Lagoon was higher than normal. Higher water levers allowed us to conduct more extensive testing deeper into the tributaries that feed Belize’s largest body of freshwater. Over time, this testing will provide a clearer picture of the movement of the water that passes from runoff and ground water into the tributaries and into the New River Lagoon. The New River Lagoon then flows north to the New River and empties into the Bay of Corozal. The nitrate levels for water sampled at a minimum of 1.0 meters below the surface showed lower nitrate levels as compared to surface levels, and to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard of safe levels of nitrate…show more content…
The levels from the samples taken in December of 2014 align within a low range that has been stable over the last several years (Studer M. , Community Based Research in Northern Belize, 2012) (Studer M. A., 2014). Samples were taken at various depths at the mouth of the New River Lagoon and further downstream directly in the New River. The level of nitrates at those sites ranged from 1.76 mg/L to 2.20 mg/L. Samples were also taken from the tributaries that feed the New River Lagoon, namely, Lemonal Creek, Ram Goat Creek, Irish Creek, Harry Jones Creek, and Lamanai Creek. All of these tributaries, with the exception of Irish Creek, lie on the east side of the Lagoon and drain either into the savanna areas or small—predominately non-agricultural—villages. The results of nitrate testing for tributaries overall ranged from 0.0mg/L- 5.72mg/L. December, 2015 In December of 2015, we acquired probes from the Hach Company that allowed us to test temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen within seconds. Since the levels of nitrates in groundwater are typically higher than in water that contains levels of dissolved oxygen greater than 0.5mg/L (Dubrovsky, et al., 2010), pairing nitrate levels with dissolved oxygen readings at coincident depths provides a better understanding of the data. Although lower water levels inhibited us from testing as far into the tributaries as we had in 2014, we
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