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Title: Nutrient and Contaminant Export Dynamics in a Larger-order Midwestern Watershed: Upper White River, Central Indiana, USA
Authors: Tedesco, Lenore P.;Vidon, Philippe G.;Jacinthe, Pierre-Andre;Stouder, Michael David Wayne
subject: Upper White River, Indiana, surface water, hydrology, export, nitrogen, nitrate, phosphorus, atrazine, 2-MIB, geosmin;White River (Ind. : River);Water -- Pollution;Watersheds -- Indiana
Year: 15-Oct-2010
Description: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
The transport of excess nutrients, sediment, and other contaminants to surface waters has been shown to cause a number of environmental and human health concerns. An understanding of the export pathways that these contaminants follow to surrounding water bodies is crucial to the anticipation and management of peak concentration events. Several studies have demonstrated that the majority of annual contaminant loading in the Midwest occurs during periods of elevated discharge. However, many studies use a limited number of sampling points to determine concentration patterns, loadings, and fluxes which decreases accuracy. Through high-resolution storm sampling conducted in a 2945 km2 (1137 mi2) area of central Indiana’s Upper White River Watershed, this research has documented the complex concentration signals and fluxes associated with a suite of cations, nutrients, and contaminants and isolated their primary transport pathways. Additionally, by comparing the results of similar studies conducted on smaller areas within this watershed, differences in concentration patterns and fluxes, as they relate to drainage area, have also been documented. Similar to the results of previous studies, NO3- concentrations lacked a well-defined relationship relative to discharge and was attributed to primarily subsurface contribution. DOC was exported along a shallow, lateral subsurface pathway, TP and TSS via overland flow, and TKN through a combination of both. Near or in-channel scouring of sediment increased DOC, TKN, TP, and TSS concentrations during Storm 2. Atrazine export was attributed to a combination of overland and subsurface pathways. 2-MIB and geosmin derived from different sources and pathways despite being produced by similar organisms. 2-MIB concentration patterns were characterized by dilution of an in-stream source during Storm 1 and potential sediment export during Storm 2 while in-stream concentrations or a sediment source of geosmin was rapidly exhausted during Storm 1. Many of the concentration patterns were subject to an exaggerated averaging effect due to the mixing of several larger watersheds, especially during Storm 1. This research illustrates the need for high-frequency sampling to accurately quantify contaminant loads for total maximum daily load (TMDL) values, developing best management practices (BMPs), and confronting the challenges associated with modeling increasingly larger-scale watersheds.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dissertations, and Doctoral Papers

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