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Effects of salinization on  DOC and NO3 in an urban stream             
  • Elizabeth G Erwin
Elizabeth G Erwin

Corresponding Author:geeliz2@vt.edu

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Salinization has become a widespread problem in freshwater sciences over the past decade in the United States. A rise in salt use from various anthropogenic sources, such as pot ash, road deicers, and fertilizer wastes, has caused an increase in salinity and alkalinization levels of freshwater streams. Hydrologists commonly use salt tracers to determine discharge.  Additionally, salt tracers can be added to other components to measure a variety of parameter responses. An example of this used in this study is the use of a salt tracer with a carbon slug composed of malt.   By using a salt tracer scientists can utilize handheld conductivity probes to determine discharge, or trace a slug other wise invisible to the eye (i.e. carbon malt). However, little research has been done to determine the effects of salt tracers on stream water chemistry. The aim of this study was to determine if salt tracers have an impact on Dissolved Organic Carbon(DOC),  Nitrate (NO3 ) and/or if there is an effect on DOC:NO3 ratios. This study took place in Stroubles Creek, an urban stream in Southwest Virginia.