"[Deadzone of the] Northern Gulf of Mexico"
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center © 2012.
Made available under a Creative Commons 2.0 license.
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution suffocate our streams. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus can harm drinking water supplies, is toxic to plants, wildlife, and small pets, and makes our streams unsafe for recreational activities. This is a special concern to TCWN because almost all of the water in Tennessee ends up in the Mississippi River and then the Gulf of Mexico. All the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Tennessee contributes to the annual Dead Zone in the Gulf - an area the size of Connecticut void of life due to lack of oxygen.
Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is a problem in Tennessee’s waters, and it’s a problem that is getting worse. Of the waters assessed for these parameters, 3,375 stream miles are impaired due to nutrients. In 2004 fewer than 2,000 miles of stream were nutrient-impaired. This is an increase of almost 70% in ten years.
There are multiple tools available to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, which result most frequently from animal waste, fertilizer runoff, and sewage treatment plants.