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Fertilizers Containing Nitrogen Nutrients

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Although God has provided us with water to drink and sustain us, contamination of this water is almost unavoidable. Much of our water is not potable due to the various pollutants left by industries, humans, and animals. Numerous economic, social, and environmental issues arise because of these contaminants. However, proper management of fertilizers or other contamination sources could lessen the negative impact on our water system. Nitrogen, often present in our water system because of fertilizers, is an example of a chemical that affects water quality in a negative way.
Fertilizer application is required to give economic crop yields; however, many of these fertilizers contain nitrogen, a chemical that leads to negative effects on water quality. Nitrogen is essential in the production of plants; but, nitrate, a nitrogen and oxygen compound, can be harmful to water when present in large amounts. "Nitrates form when microorganisms break down fertilizers, decaying plants, manures, or other organic residues. Usually plants take up these nitrates, but sometimes rain or irrigation water can leach them into groundwater" (Ward, Mary H.). Because farmers have leveled and modified fields to drain water efficiently, the runoff fertilizer often leads directly to rivers (like the stream shown in figure 1). Too much of this compound can be harmful to our rivers, lakes and oceans. When present in excess, nitrates fertilize algae and aquatic plants, depleting the oxygen and therefore threatening the fish population. The scum of algae negatively affects the water for fishing, swimming, and boating (Minnesot...

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