Human consumption in developing and developed countries has led to high increases in pollution in every facet of the agricultural industry. We founded our organization to reduce agricultural pollution bi-products from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The greatest way to make a difference in our community is to develop new technology to decrease pollutants in our waterways and educate the public on pollution threats. We are always seeking new avenues and partnerships to begin work on larger remediation sites for innovative technology. Our key services are applying nitrate and phosphorus reduction technology and abatement research.
The farming methods that became common practice after the Agricultural Revolution have dramatic effects on the nitrogen cycle, leading to aquatic life death around the world. "Dead Zones" are large pockets of water that cannot support the respiration of aquatic life native to the area. These dead zones have quadrupled in size since 1950, and there are currently 500 dead zones around the world, 450 more than in 1950 (Carrington 2018).Nitrogen and phosphorus are the leading causes of dead zones in most aquatic systems. Nitrate is particularly difficult to remove once it enters the water cycle. Phosphorus is easily removed from waterways because it is not water-soluble and will remain largely undissolved as it passes from waterway to waterway (UMN Extension 2018). Nitrogen is not as easily removed because it dissolves into the water quickly in the form of Nitrates and will remain in the waterways until being absorbed by aquatic plants. Algae uptakes nitrogen at a faster rate than all other species of aquatic plants. Commonly referred to as green algae, cyanobacteria are the main cause of eutrophic conditions that kill all other aquatic plants due to lack of oxygen (Cottington et al. 2015). The fast growth rate of green algae, enhanced by the surge of nitrates to the system, causes the sunlight to be blocked from reaching other plants and their metabolisms slow until all organisms in the system no longer have access to dissolved oxygen.
The Gulf of Mexico's dead zone poses an incredible threat to the economy of southern states, the United States' fishing industry at large, and can have prolonged devastating effects on the most marginalized communities in Louisiana who rely on the gulf for fishing. An industry worth one-fifth of the 3 billion dollar U.S. fishing industry is at risk of destruction, and 10 percent of U.S. recreational fishing is directly impaired every year in Louisiana because of excess agricultural nutrients sourced into the Mississippi River by tributaries in the Midwest according to Pretolia and Gowda(Pretolia and Gowda 2006)
The detrimental effects don't stop with the deaths of aquatic life, however, with many people experiencing adverse-health effects because of high nitrate levels. The Cancer Research Center has come out with a number of 5mg/l of nitrates in drinking water in order to minimize the risk of nitrate-attributed cancer cases. Each year, for medical expenditures alone, this burden of cancer corresponds to an annual economic cost of 250 million to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, together with a potential 1.3 to 6.5 billion dollar impact due to lost productivity according to a study by Temkin et al. (Temkin et al. 2019). With reduced nonpoint-source pollution containing nitrates, there would follow a significant reduction in nitrate-attributed cancer cases thus decreasing the strain on countless lives and potentially saving billions of dollars.
In order to simulate a system that is left to its natural processes while controlling the number of nutrients available, our hybrid wetland can filter out sediment and reduce costs, making it more affordable for a city or private entity to maintain than a natural wetland. Hybrid wetlands operate with more efficiency, using less land than other artificial wetlands, and reducing more pollutants to create healthier water for people living downstream and maintain ecosystems.
The frequency of dredging can be drastically reduced when less sediment enters the system's growing beds. By limiting sediment into the system by further hybridizing using a modified sediment filter, the wetland can remain functioning at high absorption rates for longer with less need to stop and dredge. Hybrid wetlands present the greatest opportunity to reduce nitrates in aquatic ecosystems because pre-pollutant control has extremely varied effectiveness and post-pollutant control practices are incredibly costly. Nitrate reduction in hybrid wetlands is above 50 percent removal with many systems seeing between 60 and 70 percent reduction as shown with Ávila et al. 2017. Some systems have even achieved as much as 97 percent total nitrate reduction such as the system of Saeed et al. 2019. With nitrate reduction rates higher and with less variation than the current targeting model, Hybrid wetlands are more economically and ecologically efficient.
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