Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

S. F. Korom


Six denitrification tracer tests were performed over eight and a half years in in situ mesocosms (ISMs) in the Elk Valley Aquifer (EVA) in east-central North Dakota. Groundwater samples were analyzed to determine how much nitrate was lost beyond that explained by dilution of the bromide tracer. Additional losses were attributed to denitrification. The denitrification rates varied from 0.10 to 0.23 mg N/L/day for the six tests. In general, the major electron donors for denitrification are organic carbon (OC), pyrite (FeS2), and ferrous iron silicate minerals. In the EVA tracer tests, increases in sulfate indicated that the oxidation of pyrite explained a significant of the denitrification. The contributions of the three electron donors varied between tests and from test to test with pyrite, ferrous iron from silicate minerals, and OC apparently contributing 38-84%, 1-3%, and 14-59% to denitrification, respectively.

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