Document Type



Rappahannock Community College

Publication Date

Spring 2018


Carcinogenic compounds in drinking water are becoming a significant health problem. Increased use of artificial fertilizers, disposal of wastes, and land use are the main factors responsible for increased nitrate levels in groundwater over the last 30 years. This study examined the correlation between nitrate levels and proximity to a closed, inactive garbage dump located in Middlesex, Virginia. This study also examined the correlation between nitrate levels and proximity to agricultural fields. Twenty-five sampling sites were identified on the GIS tax maps of Middlesex County, Virginia. Fifteen sites were identified within a two kilometer radius of the VPPSA landfill, also the site of an abandoned town dump, and the remaining ten sample sites were identified around the county outside of the two kilometer radius. The mean nitrate levels at sample sites within a 2 km radius of the landfill were higher. Over the 125 data points sampled, it becomes evident that nitrate levels were higher in well water at sample sites within a 2 km radius of the landfill. Along with increased nitrate levels, nitrite levels exceeding 1 ppm, the highest contamination level for human consumption, were also measured at several locations. Groundwater contamination can cause major health issues, and it is often undetected in well drinking water due to lack of regular testing. Global health and welfare due to unregulated groundwater contamination is a crisis that demands more direct attention.


Brooke Daniel won the 1st place Spring 2018 Student Research Paper Award from the Rappahannock Community College Library for this paper.



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