Submarine Groundwater Discharge in the Delaware EstuaryEPA Grant Number: U915363
Title: Submarine Groundwater Discharge in the Delaware Estuary
Investigators: Schwartz, Matthew
Institution: University of Delaware
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through January 1, 2001
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Oceanography , Aquatic Ecosystems , Academic Fellowships
The objective of this research project is to assess the biogeochemical impact of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into the Delaware Estuary by quantifying the groundwater flux magnitude and characterizing the associated groundwater chemistry.
Excess radon (Rn) is used as a natural tracer of groundwater inputs into estuarine waters. By measuring the excess Rn activity in estuarine surface waters, the Rn activity in source aquifers and various other Rn fluxes (e.g., sediments, porewaters, and air-sea exchange), the groundwater flux magnitude can be calculated. Nutrient and contaminant fluxes can be calculated using this modeled groundwater flux, and the chemistry of the groundwater can be discharged. These inputs then can be studied in the context of our extensive biogeochemical background information for the Delaware Estuary to assess the biogeochemical impact of SGD in the Estuary (and other regional estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River). Any biogeochemical impact related to SGD relates directly with the "health" of an estuary with respect to anthropogenic inputs and development and natural biogeochemical cycling.