William Grant presents thesis on Nitrate Contributions to the Niantic River Estuary
Recently, Tata & Howard Engineer and recent University of Connecticut graduate William Grant presented his senior thesis. Working with the Niantic River Nitrogen Work Group, William conducted research to evaluate the concerning nitrate contributions to the Niantic River Estuary from the Cranberry Meadow Brook and the Latimer Brook. The excess of nitrogen in the estuary has become a serious threat to aquatic life, causing eutrophication and hypoxia. It was determined, using a two endmember temperature mixing model, that Cranberry Meadow Brook contributes 33% of the total flow of water to the Lower Branch of the Latimer Brook, and the Upper Branch of the Latimer Brook contributes 67% of the total flow. Although the Cranberry Brook is much smaller and contributes less flow of water to the Lower Branch of the Latimer Brook, it contributes equal amounts of nitrate to the Latimer Brook system. William concluded, based on qualitative analysis on land cover and land use, that the high level of nitrate from the Cranberry Meadow Brook is a result of agriculture runoff and ground water inputs. His research will greatly help scientists and other engineers as they try to reduce the severe eutrophication and hypoxia that are hazardous to aquatic life in the Niantic River Estuary.