Plumes of cool water are potential sources of pollution.
The movement of groundwater in aquifers deep beneath the surface often carries with it a variety of contaminants that can be traced to leaking septic systems, damaged underground infrastructure, excessive fertilizer use and other land uses. But where that groundwater and those contaminants end up is often unknown.
Using a drone with an infrared thermal imaging camera, a team of University of Rhode Island researchers led by doctoral student Kyle Young has tracked some of it to the Ocean State’s coastal ponds.
“We’re looking to quantify the amount of nutrients being brought into our estuaries and what’s happening to those nutrients,” said Young, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and physics teacher at the Coast Guard Academy on leave to earn his doctorate.
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