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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Applications of GIS to the Modeling of Non-Point Source Pollutants in the Vadose Zone: a Conference Overview

Authors
item CORWIN, DENNIS
item Wagenet, R - CORNELL UNIV., ITHACA, NY

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Non-point source (NPS) pollutants are contaminants of surface and subsurface soil and water which are spread over large areas. Because of their ubiquitous nature NPS pollutants are a global concern. One means of assessing the hazardous nature of NPS pollutants is to predict their occurrence with models and present these predictions in map form. A means of dealing with the spatial nature of NPS pollutants is to couple the one-dimensional model of solute movement to a spatial database of model input data. This spatial database is known as a geographic information system (GIS). The 1995 Bouyoucos Conference titled Applications of GIS to the modeling of non-point source pollutants in the vadose zone was convened to present work regarding state-of-the-art studies presents a review of all past work concerning the application of GIS to the modeling of NPS pollutants along with a summary of the significant papers presented at the Bouyoucos Conference. The paper discusses the strengths and limitations of this multidisciplinary approach and stresses the need for new technologies to cost-effectively measure the much needed model input data over large areas of land and the need for an assessment of the reliability of the predictions to improve the current utility of maps predicting NPS pollutants in soil and groundwater.

Technical Abstract: Because of their ubiquitous nature and potential chronic health effects, non-point source (NPS) pollutants have become a focal point of attention by subsurface sources of drinking water. NPS pollutants pose a technical problem due to the areal extent of their contamination which increases the complexity and sheer volume of data far beyond that of point source pollutants. The spatial nature of the NPS pollution problem necessitates the use of a geographic information system to manipulate, retrieve and display the large volumes of spatial data. This overview provides a brief introduction and review of the modeling of NPS pollutants with GIS and a brief discussion of some of the papers presented at the ASA-CSSA-SSSA 1995 Bouyoucos Conference entitled "Applications of GIS to the Modeling of Non-Point Source Pollutants in the Vadose Zone".

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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