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Return to Human Disturbances to Estuaries - Nutrient Pollution

Nutrient pollution often causes explosive algal growth which depletes waters of oxygen when the algae die. Toxic and foul smelling compounds may also be produced through this process. Nutrient pollution is the single largest pollution problem effecting coastal waters of the United States (Howarth et al., 2000). Most excess nutrients come from discharges of sewage treatment plants and septic tanks, storm-water runoff from overfertilized lawns, golf courses and agricultural fields. Over 60 percent of the coastal rivers and bays in the United States are moderately to severely affected by nutrient pollution (Howarth et al., 2000). (Photo: Weeks Bay NERRS site)

Eutrophication triggers toxic algal blooms

 

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