One parameter that's involved in water quality assessment is ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N), a measure of ammonia. Where does ammonia come from in natural water sources, such as a river? What factor causes high and low values of this parameter? I am specifically interested in secondary forest streams.

  • In Europe: mainly agricultural activity (including manure application) lead to the release of inorganic nitrogen into river and ground water. Generally, apart from agriculture: In industrialized regions with weak waster water control mechanisms (mechanisms in the sense of environmental protection agencies monitoring industrial effluent water) an import source might be some facilities of the chemical industry. – daniel.neumann Dec 14 '17 at 8:26
  • I don't want to say that farmers generally cause the release of ammonium/nitrate into rivers. But the extensive agricultural activities and the application of vast amounts of manure as present in large parts of Northern Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands has this impact. – daniel.neumann Dec 14 '17 at 8:28
  • could you explain the word "secondary forest streams"? I am not familiar with that nor do I find a clear explanation for it. – daniel.neumann Dec 17 '17 at 18:41
  • Not a significant source, but aquatic animals secrete ammonia and nitrogen in their waste – Jim Dec 28 '17 at 6:57

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