Main content area

Dynamics of dissolved organic matter in riverine sediments affected by weir impoundments: Production, benthic flux, and environmental implications

Chen, Meilian, Kim, Sung-Han, Jung, Heon-Jae, Hyun, Jung-Ho, Choi, Jung Hyun, Lee, Hyo-Jin, Huh, In-Ae, Hur, Jin
Water research 2017 v.121 pp. 150-161
ammonium compounds, anaerobiosis, carbon sinks, coasts, disinfection, dissolved organic carbon, fluorescence, fouling, iron, lakes, models, phosphates, rivers, seasonal variation, sediments, water treatment, South Korea
In order to understand the characteristics and dynamics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the sediment of rivers affected by impoundments, we examined the vertical profiles and the benthic fluxes of DOM in four different core sediments located at upstream sites of weirs in major rivers of South Korea. In three out of four sites, exponential accumulation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) with depth was observed with the signature of seasonal variability. Except for the site displaying a below-detection limit of Fe(II), the general accumulation trends of DOC with depth was concurrent with the increases of Fe(II) and NH4+ and the decrease of PO43-, signifying a close linkage of the DOM dynamics with anaerobic respiration via iron reduction, an important early diagenesis pathway. The estimated benthic fluxes from the cores revealed that the sediments likely serve as DOC, chromophoric DOM (CDOM), and fluorescent DOM (FDOM) sources to the overlying water. The benthic effluxes based on DOC were comparable to the ranges previously reported in lake and coastal areas, and those of CDOM and FDOM showed even higher levels. These findings imply that impoundment-affected river systems would change the DOM composition of the overlying water, ultimately influencing the subsequent water treatment processes such as disinfection byproducts production and membrane fouling. A simple mass balance model indicated that the impoundment-affected river sediments may operate as a net carbon sink in the environments due to a greater extent of sedimentation compared to the estimated benthic efflux and sediment biological respiration.