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In our communities, water quality is affected by the composition of the landscape upstream, including the density of impervious surfaces, the degree of development, and the density and type of sanitary infrastructure.

Key Questions and Findings

  • What are the major sources of nutrients?
    • Wastewater from septic and leaky sewers
    • Treatment plant effluent
    • Lawn fertilizers
  • Where are they coming from on the landscape?
    • Still working on this one
  • How are they moving from the landscape to water bodies?
    • Surface flow, shallow subsurface flow and groundwater flow are all significant contributors of different Nitrogen sources.
  • When (under what flow conditions) are they moving into water bodies?
    • Nutrient entry into waterways is significantly greater in wet periods.
    • The majority of nutrient entry into waterways occurs at base flow, but changes with land-use.
    • The drivers of storm-induced nutrient entry into the waterways vary greatly with land-use and infrastructure.
Research Team Final Report

Diego Riveros-Iregui | UNC-Chapel Hill

Diego Riveros-Iregui received a B.S. in geosciences from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (1999), a M.S. in hydrogeology from the University of Minnesota (2004), and a Ph.D. in watershed hydrology from Montana State University (2008). His research foci include watershed science, forest and soil processes, ecosystem ecology, and human-water-environment interactions. Before joining UNC in 2013, he worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Colorado (2008-2010) and as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska (2010-2013). His current research program includes field sites in North Carolina, the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. Riveros-Iregui has published in journals such as Global Change Biology, Water Resources Research, Hydrological Processes, and Geophysical Research Letters, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. He teaches courses on watershed hydrology, environmental systems, and tropical ecohydrology. His work is currently supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the State of North Carolina.

Joseph Delesantro | UNC-Chapel Hill

Joseph Delesantro is a PhD student studying Environment and Ecology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Joseph obtained his B.S. in Environmental Engineering and his M.S. in Forest Hydrology at the University of Florida. While working as a researcher at Duke University, Joseph applied his knowledge of engineering and hydrology to the study of urban watersheds. Publications and manuscripts address the effect of roads on stream flow patterns, the nitrogen and carbon contribution of roof gutters to watersheds and the primary productivity of urban streams. He currently studies how patterns in development effect the nutrient pollution of waterbodies.