- School of Earth Sciences - Theses
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ItemOccurrence of nitrate in soil and groundwater in the Corangamite area, Western VictoriaBayne, Phillip James M. ( 1996)Soil and groundwater samples taken from two areas of different land use in the Corangamite Region, 200 km west of Melbourne, were analysed for nitrate and ammonium, and in some cases chloride. Both sites are located on the Later Newer Volcanics 'stone rises', and groundwater was sampled from nested bores which intersect the shallow unconfined aquifer and deeper semi-confined aquifer at both sites. The Carpendeit site is an area of native Eucalypt forest, and the Purrumbete North site is a pasture for grazing dairy cows. Low concentrations of nitrate (< 1 mgN/L) in groundwater at Carpendeit correspond to low soil nitrate concentrations (< 3 µgN/cm3 ). Higher groundwater nitrate concentrations occurred in the shallow unconfined aquifer at Purrumbete North, (up to 3 mgN/L), but not in the lower semi-confined aquifer, and corresponds to higher nitrate concentrations in soil (1 to 60 µgN/cm3 ). Elevated nitrate concentrations also occurred in groundwater discharge at McVeans Springs, in the range 2.61 to 4.72 mgN/L, and at Ettrick Springs in the range 8.08 to 16.07 mgN/L, greater than the limit of 10 mgN/L for drinking water specified in ANZECC water quality guidelines. Nitrate in soil under the pasture is probably derived primarily from the activity of nitrogen fixing bacteria associated with subterranean clover introduced to the pasture. Soil nitrate distributions suggest intense return of nitrogen in dung and urea occurs at 'camps' locations on the pasture, where cows tend to gather for shelter. Transport of nitrogen to shallow groundwater is stimulated by cracks and channels in the basalt clay soils. Local groundwater flow includes interaction with the many lakes and temporary ponds 'which form in surface depressions at times of high rainfall. The ponds probably serve as an effective nitrate supply in recharge to the shallow aquifer.