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Numerical Simulation and Sensitivity Analysis for Nitrogen Dynamics Under Sewage Water Irrigation with Organic Carbon

Liu, Kun, Zhu, Yan, Ye, Ming, Yang, Jinzhong, Cheng, Xianjun, Shi, Liangsheng
Water, air, and soil pollution 2018 v.229 no.6 pp. 173
adsorption, ammonium, denitrification, drainage water, equations, humus, mathematical models, mineralization, municipal wastewater, nitrates, nitrification, nitrogen, nitrogen content, organic carbon, soil water, soil water retention
This study is focused on investigating the impacts of organic carbon on the denitrification process of nitrogen transformation and transport. A numerical model, Nitrogen-2D, is modified by considering the impact of organic carbon in the denitrification equation. The modified model is used to simulate the soil nitrogen (including nitrate and ammonium) dynamics under the primary and secondary sewage water irrigation with different organic carbon concentrations. The simulated results of accumulated drainage water amount, soil nitrogen concentration, and nitrogen concentration in the drainage water show that the simulations and measurements are consistent. The comparison of results from the original and improved models shows the necessity to consider the impact of organic carbon. The nitrogen mass balance is calculated to analyze the nitrogen transformation processes quantitatively under different input organic carbon sources. Furthermore, the effect of different input organic carbon sources on the soil nitrogen dynamics is investigated by using the modified Nitrogen-2D model with the calibrated parameters. The input organic carbon source helps to speed up the mineralization and denitrification, which contributes to the slight increase of ammonium concentration and the decrease of nitrate concentration in the shallow soil. Since a large number of soil water and nitrogen transformation and transport parameters are needed when setting up the model, a local sensitivity method is conducted to evaluate the input parameters by the sewage water irrigation case. The results show that the drainage water amount is very sensitive to the exponent n and the coefficient α of the soil water retention function and that the ammonium concentration is very sensitive to the first-order nitrification rate constant, the decomposition rate coefficient in humus pool, and the soil ammonium adsorption coefficient. The nitrate concentration is sensitive to more parameters, especially to the exponent n and the coefficient α in the soil water retention function and to the denitrification rate constant.