Document Type

Article

Department/Program

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date

7-2019

Journal

Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Volume

124

Issue

7

First Page

2186

Last Page

2207

Abstract

Groundwater discharge delivering anthropogenic N from surrounding watersheds can impact lake nutrient budgets. However, upgradient groundwater processes and changing dynamics in N biogeochemistry at the groundwater‐lake interface are complex. In this study, seasonal water‐level variations in a groundwater flow‐through lake altered discharge patterns of a wastewater‐derived groundwater contaminant plume, thereby affecting biogeochemical processes controlling N transport. Pore water collected 15 cm under the lakebed along transects perpendicular to shore varied from oxic to anoxic with increasing nitrate concentrations (10–75 μM) and corresponding gradients in nitrite and nitrous oxide. Pore water depth profiles of nitrate concentrations and stable isotopic compositions largely reflected upgradient groundwater N sources and N cycle processes, with minor additional nitrate reduction in the near‐surface lakebed sediments. Potential denitrification rates determined in laboratory microcosms were 10–100 times higher in near‐surface sediments (0–5 cm) than in deeper sediments (5–30 cm) and were correlated with sediment carbon content and abundance of denitrification genes (nirS, nosZI, and nosZII). Potential anammox‐driven N2 production was detectable in deeper anoxic sediments. Injection of bromide and nitrite in the lake sediments showed that the highest net nitrite consumption rates were within the top 10 cm. However, short transit times owing to rapid upward pore water velocities (4–5 cm hr−1) limited removal of the contaminant nitrate transiting through the sediments. Results demonstrate that local hydrologic and biogeochemical processes at the point of discharge affect the distribution and discharge rate of N through lakebed sediments, but processes in the upgradient groundwater can be more important for affecting N speciation and concentration.

DOI

10.1029/2018JG004635

Keywords

groundwater, denitrification, lakes

JGRBiogeo_Song2019_Supplemental_info.pdf (1220 kB)
Supporting Information S1

Available for download on Thursday, October 17, 2019

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