This year-long study measured sucralose, nitrogen isotopes in macrophytes, aqueous nutrients, and C-44 measurements in groundwater systems vulnerable to septic leaking from canals and nearshore reefs. Additional measurements of phytoplankton and algal tissues contributed to establishing thresholds for nitrogen isotopes in these vulnerable waters. This study considered local land use practices and hydrology along the coastline to understand the impact of river runoff. The time frame of this study is long enough to acknowledge seasonal and weather-related fluxes and short enough to be carried out at other localized locations, making this replicable and adaptable. The consideration of existing TMDLs also offers practitioners new perspective on how policy changes impact management and may not be as effective as intended. Solutions proposed are novel, including increasing storage capacity to reduce the susceptibility of lakes and estuaries to nutrient fluxes. The article goes into detail to support the conclusion that wastewater causes algae blooms, which are also influenced by including precipitation patterns, the nitrogen cycle, and the process of treatment employed by existing onsite treatment systems.

Authors: Lapointe, B.E., L.W. Herren, and A.L. Paule
Year: 2017
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Harmful Algae 70:1-22. doi:10.1016/j.hal.2017.09.005

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