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Nonpoint source nitrogen pollution is difficult to effectively model in groundwater systems. This study aims to elucidate anthropogenic nonpoint source pollution discharging into Potowomut Pond and ultimately Narragansett Bay. Hydrologic modeling with Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and SWAT Calibration and Uncertainty Program (SWAT-CUP) was used to simulate streamflow and nitrogen levels in the Hunt River with and without onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS). The objective of this study was to determine how input of OWTS data impacts nitrogen loading into the Hunt River Watershed in Rhode Island, USA. The model was simulated from 2006 to 2014, calibrated from 2007 to 2011 and validated from 2012 to 2014. Observed streamflow data was sourced from a US Geological Survey gauge and nitrogen loading data from University of Rhode Island Watershed Watch (URIWW). From the results, adding OWTS data to the SWAT simulation produced a better calibration and validation fit for total fit (Nash–Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) = 0.50 calibration, 0.78 validation) when compared with SWAT simulation without OWTS data (NSE = −1.3 calibration, −6.95) validation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.