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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 1, p. 141-150
    Received: Mar 2, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): mchen@ifas.ufl.edu
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Specific Conductance and Ionic Characteristics of Farm Canals in the Everglades Agricultural Area

  1. Ming Chen *a,
  2. Samira H. Daroubb,
  3. Timothy A. Langa and
  4. Orlando A. Diaza
  1. a Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Belle Glade, FL 33430
    b Soil and Water Science Department and Everglades Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Belle Glade, FL 33430


Specific conductance in farm canals of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) in south Florida is an important water quality parameter that was categorized as a parameter of concern according to an observed frequency of >5% excursions over the Class III water quality criterion and needed to be addressed as a part of the Everglades Regulatory Program. This study was conducted to evaluate specific conductance in farm canals of the EAA. Specific conductance was monitored at 10 representative farms (a total of 12 pump stations) in the EAA using multi-parameter water quality data loggers, for periods ranging from 24 to 83 mo. Cation and anion concentrations were also determined. Nonparametric Mann-Kendall trend analyses and Sen's slope analysis of specific conductance were conducted to determine specific conductance trends. Mean specific conductance ranged from 0.74 to 1.68 dS m−1 and only 2 of the 10 farms were above the State Class III water quality criterion of 1.275 dS m−1 Statistically significant downward trends were observed at 3 of the 10 farms. Determination of ion compositions in grab samples at 8 of the 10 farms indicated that the major ions contributing to the increase in specific conductance in the EAA were Cl, HCO3 , and Na+ Mean Na/Cl ratios in most of the EAA canals ranged from 0.57 to 0.78, whereas those of SO4/Cl ranged from 0.46 to 0.98. Investigation of historical data and literature indicates that elevated specific conductance in parts of the EAA is a natural phenomenon due to entrapment of connate seawater in the Everglades formation. Sulfur contributes minor increases in specific conductance in the EAA with probable sources from organic soil mineralization, ground water, Lake Okeechobee, and S fertilizers.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA