• APPLICATION OF BORON ISOTOPE RATIOS FOR IDENTIFYING NITRATE CONTAMINATION SOURCES IN THE GROUNDWATER OF AVRA VALLEY, ARIZONA

      Leenhouts, James Merrell; Basset, R. L.; Maddock, Thomas, III; Department of Hydrology & Water Resources, The University of Arizona (Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1994-06)
      The stable isotopes of the conservative element boron, 11B and 1°B, have been employed as co- migrating isotopic tracers to determine the origin of nitrate observed in groundwater from a large capacity (2500 gpm) irrigation well in the Avra Valley of southeastern Arizona. The isotopic ratios of the conservative element, boron, provided an identifying signature for various nitrate rich source waters. Additional chemical parameters were also examined to corroborate the isotopic indications. Findings of this investigation indicate that most of the nitrate observed in groundwater from well CMID 18 at the beginning of the 1993 irrigation season was due to municipal wastewater contamination. As the irrigation season progressed, an increasing proportion of nitrate was contributed by irrigation return flow from neighboring agricultural fields.