Atlanta leaves big chemical footprint | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Atlanta leaves big chemical footprint

By
12:05pm, July 10, 2001

Analysis of water quality downstream of Atlanta shows that some pollutants from the city are still detectable more than 500 kilometers away.

Atlanta, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the eastern United States, already sprawls across an area larger than the state of Delaware and is home to more than 3.8 million people. Upstream from Atlanta, the water in the Chattahoochee River is clean; downriver, the chemical signs of human habitation and industrial activity abound, says W. Berry Lyons, a hydrologist at Ohio State University in Columbus.

For example, each upstream liter of river water contains about 2.0 milligrams of nitrate ions, 2.5 mg of chloride ions, and 0.2 micrograms of dissolved copper. Downstream of the city, the concentrations of these substances skyrocket–especially during summer, when low river flow doesn't dilute the city's pollutants as well as it does in winter. Concentrations of nitrate and chloride can jump about 7-fold to 13.5 an

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from this issue of Science News

[title_1]
From the Nature Index Paid Content