Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
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.
groundwater, denitrification, lakes
Smith, RL; Repert, DA; Stoliker, DL; Kent, DB; Song, BK; and al, et, "Seasonal and Spatial Variation in the Location and Reactivity of a Nitrate‐Contaminated Groundwater Discharge Zone in a Lakebed" (2019). VIMS Articles. 1678.
Available for download on Thursday, October 17, 2019