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9:39 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Scientists detect high levels of nitrogen in Midwest waterways

Joe Schatz, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, cranks up a sample of Missouri River water near Hermann, Mo.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This spring and summer, U.S. Geological Survey scientists waded into 100 Midwest streams to test for hundreds of chemicals used in farming, including nutrients, pesticides like atrazine and glyphosate, and livestock hormones. The results from the study are trickling in. But preliminary findings indicate that from May through early July, 21 percent of the region’s streams contained very high levels of nitrogen in the form of nitrates.

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