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Monday, April 12, 2010

Florida's natural springs in crisis: Which ones are cleanest, most polluted?

Published 4/11/2010 Orlando Sentinel
Fanning's waters ... has earned recognition as among the state's most polluted and a prime example of what's killing ecosystems at many of Florida's best-known springs.

Bob Knight, University of Florida professor and springs researcher for 30 years, and other aquatic scientists have documented how rising nitrate levels initially act as a growth booster for a spring's plants and then wreak havoc.

Alexander Springs, deep in Ocala National Forest, is possibly the state's cleanest — nearly what Mother Nature originally designed — with a nitrate level of far less than 1 part per million and measuring consistently at about 0.05 parts per million. That tells scientists healthy springs have extremely low levels of nitrate.

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