EGU21-12260
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12260
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Groundwater phosphorus concentrations: global trends and links with agricultural and oil and gas activities

Jessica Warrack1, Mary Kang2, and Christian von Sperber3
Jessica Warrack et al.
  • 1McGill University, Civil engineering and applied mechanics, Canada (jessica.warrack@mail.mcgill.ca)
  • 2McGill University, Civil engineering and applied mechanics, Canada (mary.kang@mcgill.ca)
  • 3McGill University, Geography, Canada (chris.vonsperber@mcgill.ca)

Although observations show that anthropogenic phosphorus (P) can reach groundwater supplies, there has been no comprehensive evaluation of P in groundwater at the global scale. Additionally, there have been minimal studies on distributed sources, such as agriculture, and the effects of oil and gas activities on P contamination in groundwater are poorly understood. We compile and analyze 181,653 groundwater P concentrations from 13 government agencies and 8 individual research studies in 11 different countries in order to determine the extent of P pollution at the global scale. We find that every country with data has groundwater P concentrations that pose a significant risk of eutrophication to surface waters. In Canada and the United States, we study the relationship between land use, focusing on crop/pastureland, and increased P concentrations in groundwater. In Ontario and Alberta, two Canadian provinces with different histories of oil and gas development, we find areas with a high concentration of P groundwater pollution to coincide with regions of intense oil and gas activity. Understanding the effects of anthropogenic sources on phosphorus contamination of groundwater and identifying all possible pathways through which contamination can occur will assist regulators in planning and implementing effective strategies to manage groundwater and surface water quality and sustain ecosystem health.

How to cite: Warrack, J., Kang, M., and von Sperber, C.: Groundwater phosphorus concentrations: global trends and links with agricultural and oil and gas activities, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12260, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-12260, 2021.

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