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Nitrogen as nitrite-nitrate-N, ammonia-N, and total Kjeldahl nitrogen was determined in surface waters of streams in the Little Tallapoosa watershed in the Piedmont province of west Georgia. Within the watershed are extensive pastures, hay fields, and forests. There are also four small- to medium-sized urban areas, rapidly growing housing developments, one landfill, five sewage treatment facilities, and one sewage spray application site near the Little Tallapoosa River. Nitrogen concentration data were determined weekly for nine sample stations on the Little Tallapoosa River and monthly to weekly for 24 sample stations on tributary streams in 2001 as part of the West Georgia Watershed Assessment. Results indicate that nitrite-nitrate-N levels reach their highest during late summer and early fall. The highest nitrogen levels occur in a tributary that heads in a cattle pasture inside a city that discharges treated sewage into the stream. Twelve-hour sampling at two additional sample stations following rain events in 2002 indicates that increases in ammonia-N closely follow significant rainfalls (>0.5 in.; >1.3 cm). Water withdrawals of more than 8 million gal/day (30,000 m3/day) by four major public suppliers from streams in the Little Tallapoosa watershed had no effect on nitrogen concentrations in the streams in 2001.
Curtis L. Hollabaugh is professor of geology and chair of the Department of Geosciences, State University of West Georgia. He teaches geology, mineralogy, geochemistry, environmental geochemistry, and environmental studies. He has a B.S. degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Washington State University. Research is on watershed assessments in the Piedmont and Valley and Ridge of Georgia.Randa R. Harris is a research scientist at the State University of West Georgia. She has a B.S. degree from the State University of West Georgia (UWG) and an M.S. degree from University of Tennessee. She is now supervising laboratory and fieldwork for long-term monitoring of water quality for the Center for Water Resources in the Department of Geosciences at UWG.
Heather Bailey is an undergraduate student of geology at the State University of West Georgia. Scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2005, Heather invests time in research, laboratory work, and fieldwork outside of classroom learning. Water-quality issues remain the focus of her interests, and long-term water-quality monitoring, including data collection, chemical analysis, and biological sampling, constitutes the greater part of her work. The results of her research have found venues at both the 2003 Southeastern Geological Society of America convention in Memphis, Tennessee, and the 2003 Geological Society of America meeting held in Seattle, Washington.