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Nutrients Research

Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Bloom in Lake ErieExcess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are among the most prevalent cause of water quality impairment in the United States. EPA, state and local governments, and numerous stakeholders have made progress to reduce nutrients loadings that contribute to harmful algal blooms (HABs), hypoxia, fish kills, terrestrial biodiversity changes and degradation of drinking source waters that require costly water treatment. These pollutants continue to be released and discharged at concentrations that cause adverse impacts to human health and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

To help ensure the sustainability of our water, land, and air, and to protect our health while also providing the material, food, and energy required by society, EPA's researchers are exploring solutions to reduce and control nutrient pollution and HABs, maximize efficient nutrient use, promote nutrient removal processes, and protect people and natural resources.

Research Topics

EPA's research provides innovative solutions to address the problem of nutrient pollution. Some examples of research being conducted at EPA include sources of nutrient pollution, HABs and associated algal toxins, fate and transport of nutrients in the environment, chemical changes that happen as nutrients move in the environment, effects of nutrient pollution on our environment and health, and benefits and costs associated with different nutrient management choices.

Much of this research supports the development of regulatory limits on nutrient pollution in water resources. At the same time, researchers work to understand the social and economic costs and benefits associated with potential solutions to excess nutrient problems so that optimal solutions for managing water quality over the long term can be achieved.

Available Tools

See EPA's Methods, Models, Tools, and Databases for Water Research for a full listing of available water-related tools.

Research Publications

Featured Science Matters Articles

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