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Persistent URL http://purl.org/net/epubs/work/53261022
Record Status Checked
Record Id 53261022
Title River metabolic fingerprints and regimes reveal ecosystem responses to enhanced wastewater treatment
Contributors
Abstract Although many studies have examined how improvements in wastewater treatment impact river nutrient concentrations and loads, there has been much less focus on measuring river metabolism to evaluate the wider aquatic ecosystem benefits of reducing nutrient inputs to rivers. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of enhanced wastewater treatment (nitrification) on river metabolism in the Grand River, Canada's largest river draining into Lake Erie. Metabolic fingerprints and regimes (calculated from high-frequency dissolved oxygen [DO] measurements) were used to visualize whole-river ecosystem functional responses to these wastewater treatment upgrades. There was a 60% reduction in ecosystem respiration during summer, in response to reductions in effluent total ammonia inputs, causing a shift from net heterotrophy to net autotrophy, and contraction of river metabolic fingerprints. This resulted in major improvements in summer DO concentrations, with reductions in the percentage of days during summer that DO minima fell below water-quality guidelines for protection of aquatic early life stages, from 88% to ≤16%. The results also point to potential cascading impacts on coupled phosphorus and nitrogen cycles, which may generate further improvements in river water quality. During the summer, high rates of river metabolism and nutrient retention may result in measured water-column nutrient concentrations potentially underestimating nutrient pressures. This study also demonstrates the value of combining river metabolism with nutrient monitoring for a more holistic understanding of the role of nutrients in river ecosystem health and function.
Organisation ISIS , ISIS , STFC
Keywords
Funding Information NSERC (RGPIN‐4542022‐03331)
Related Research Object(s):
Licence Information: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Language English (EN)
Type Details URI(s) Local file(s) Year
Journal Article J Environ Qual 51, no. 5 (2022): 811-825. doi:10.1002/jeq2.20401 2022