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Particulate phosphorus accumulation and net retention in constructed wetlands receiving agricultural runoff: Critical analysis of factors affecting retention estimates
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Theoretical Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Ansamling och fastläggning av partikelbunden fosfor i anlagda våtmarker på jordbruksmark : Faktorer som påverkar retentionsskattningar (Swedish)
Abstract [sv]

Övergödning är ett allvarligt miljöproblem, som bland annat orsakar omfattande blomningar av alger och blågrönbakterier. I söt- och brackvatten är fosfor ofta det mest begränsande näringsämnet för dessa organismer, varför en minskning av fosfortillförseln är nödvändig för att nå förbättringar. I Sverige beräknas jordbruket bidra med 44 % av fosforbelastningen till Egentliga Östersjön, och olika åtgärder för att minska fosforförlusterna från jordbruksmark tillämpas runtom i Sverige.

Våtmarker anläggs ofta för att fånga näringsämnen och partiklar från jordbruksmark innan de läcker ut i vattendrag och slutligen i Östersjön. Tidigare utvärderingar av anlagda våtmarker i Sverige har visat på en varierande och relativt låg fastläggning av fosfor. Osäkerheten kring dessa utvärderingar är dock ganska hög, och bottnar i kunskapsluckor både vad gäller processer för fastläggning och transport av fosfor från mindre jordbruksområden. I denna avhandling utreds därför hur anlagda våtmarker fungerar som fällor för jordpartiklar och partikelbunden fosfor i områden med höga fosforförluster.

Sju anlagda våtmarker i jordbruksområden med mycket lerjordar studerades, och mängden fosfor och partiklar som fastlades på botten varierade mycket mellan olika våtmarker (13-108 ton partiklar/ha/yr och 11-175 kg fosfor/ha/yr). De faktorer i området uppströms som var kopplade till fosforfastläggning var lutningen i området, markens lerhalt och innehåll av växttillgänglig fosfor samt områdets djurtäthet.

Resultat från fyra våtmarker visade på en hög resuspension (partiklar från botten virvlas tillbaka upp i vattnet), men en del av de uppvirvlade partiklarna kom troligtvis från erosion från våtmarkernas sidor och inte från det material som fastlades på botten. Man såg även indikationer på resuspension från vattenprover tagna i utloppet av en annan våtmark. Där var partikelbunden fosfor klart dominerande, vilket kan ha varit en konsekvens av resuspension från botten.

Variationerna av fosforkoncentrationer vid in- och utlopp i sju anlagda våtmarker studerades, för att kritiskt kunna granska tidigare retentionsskattningar. Det var stora variationer i sambanden mellan vattenflöde och fosforkoncentrationer mellan de olika våtmarkerna. De faktorer som påverkade sambandet mellan flöde och koncentration var 1) om det var varm eller kall årstid (d v s sommar eller vinter), 2) om det var högt eller lågt vattenflöde, samt 3) om inflödet bestod av ett dräneringsrör eller ett öppet dike/åfåra. I våtmarker med öppet dike som inflöde var flödes-koncentrationssambandet av totalfosfor negativt vid låga flöden och positivt vid höga flöden. De olika sambanden visar hur viktig sättet att provta vatten är, då inkommande mängd fosfor både kan över- och underskattas om man inte är medveten om sådana variationer. Vid automatisk provtagning styrd av flödesmätningen sker detta ofta i utloppet, men eftersom vattnet har en viss uppehållstid i våtmarken (speciellt sommartid) kan retentionsberäkningen påverkas av att all provtagningen styrs av flödet i utloppet.    

För att identifiera vilka områden som bidrar med mest näring och partiklar valdes ett stort område dominerat av jordbruksmark ut – för att undersöka hur man skulle kunna bedöma var anlagda våtmarker skulle kunna göra mest nytta. Området delades in i tio mindre områden, och vattenprover samlades in från diken och åfåror. Resultaten visade på stora skillnader i fosfordynamik mellan olika delområden med olika jordtyper, trots att de hade liknande markanvändning. Det fanns ofta en koppling mellan höga fosforkoncentrationer i vattnet och en hög andel lerjordar i området. För partiklar fanns det en tendens till samband mellan höga koncentrationer och hög andel vinterbar mark. En anlagd våtmark skulle antagligen ha högst effekt om den placerades nedströms områden som är känsliga för erosion – områden med hög andel lerjordar eller med hög andel vinterbar mark.

Abstract [en]

Eutrophication is one of the more serious current environmental problems, causing algal blooms and anoxic bottoms. In fresh and brackish water, phosphorus (P) is often the most limiting nutrient, and various mitigating strategies are used to reduce the load of P to sensitive recipients. In the agricultural sector, this includes both on-field measures (e.g. managing P inputs) and measures at the field edge (e.g. buffer zones and constructed wetlands). Previous evaluations of constructed wetlands (CWs) in Sweden have indicated a variable and relatively low P retention. However, the uncertainties in the estimates are large, and related to an incomplete knowledge about both retention processes and factors determining the P load from agricultural land. Hence, the overall aim of this thesis was to investigate possible reasons for the variation in wetland P retention estimates, and to assess the P retention in wetlands located in agricultural areas where losses are expected to be high.

When comparing seven CWs located downstream small catchments with predominantly arable land, the particle and P net accumulation varied considerably (13-108 t particles ha-1 yr-1 and 11-175 kg P ha-1 yr-1, respectively). Catchment factors that were statistically correlated with accumulation of particles and P in the CWs were the slope of the arable land, the P content of the top soil, the animal density (expressed as livestock units per arable land) and the percentage clay in the topsoils.

In four of the wetlands, resuspension was studied using sediment traps and plates. The results showed that up to 87 % of the settled material was resuspended, and indicated that erosion of the wetland sides and bottom probably contributed a substantial part of the trapped particles.

In order to critically evaluate existing retention data from earlier investigations, the temporal dynamics of P concentrations and P retention in seven CWs were evaluated. The relationships between water flow and concentration (from grab sampling) varied, and depended on the season (warm or cold period of the year), water flow (high or low) and the inlet type (drainage pipe or open ditch). In CWs that received water through an open ditch, flow-concentration relationships were negative during low flow periods but positive during high flow periods. These differences in flow-concentration relationship have implications for water sampling, since P loads can be both over- and underestimated with grab or automatic sampling guided by clock-time. Also composite automatic sampling, regulated from the water flow at the outlet, can lead to errors in transport calculations since the same ‘water parcel’ is not measured at in and out (difference depending on how long the water retention time is in the CW). This may have an effect on estimates of P retention in both past, present and future investigations of constructed wetlands.

Finally, a synoptic sampling approach with ten sampling points was used in an agriculturally dominated catchment area (160 km2) to identify differences in nutrient transport dynamics and areas with the highest losses. Spatial differences in P concentrations were strongly correlated with some of the catchment factors, for instance with soil type, and particle concentrations were weakly correlated to agricultural practices associated with bare soils during winter. This supports the practice to focus P mitigation measures – such as constructed wetlands – to erosion sensitive areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 49 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1648
Keyword [en]
Phosphorus retention, constructed wetlands, agriculture, sampling strategy
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117116DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-117116ISBN: 978-91-7519-107-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-117116DiVA: diva2:805816
Public defence
2015-05-29, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-16 Created: 2015-04-16 Last updated: 2016-12-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Temporal phosphorus dynamics affecting retention estimates in agricultural constructed wetlands
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temporal phosphorus dynamics affecting retention estimates in agricultural constructed wetlands
2017 (English)In: Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, ISSN 0925-8574, E-ISSN 1872-6992, Vol. 103, 436-445 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Data from seven constructed wetlands (CWs) in the south of Sweden were analyzed to investigate the effects of water flow and season on inflow phosphorus (P) concentrations and temporal P retention variations in CWs receiving runoff from arable land. The form of P (dissolved or particulate) during different water flows (high and low) and seasons (warm and cold) was investigated using the results of total P (TP) and phosphate analyzed in grab samples that had been collected regularly or occasionally during two to nine years, along with continuous water flow measurements.

The form of inflow and outflow P (particulate or dissolved P) differed between CWs, and also varied with season and flow. For instance, in three of the CWs, particulate P (PP) dominated the inflow during the cold period with high flow, while during the other periods the proportion of PP was approximately 50%. In one CW situated in a catchment with high clay content, PP dominated both inflow and outflow at all times. The average clay content in catchment top soils was positively correlated to the flow-weighted inflow TP concentrations.

In three CWs receiving runoff through drainage pipes, the relationship between TP concentrations (TPin) and water flow was positive, both during high and low flow, and during warm and cold period. However, in four CWs that received surface water runoff, the relationship between TPin and water flow was positive during high flow periods (i.e. the 25% sampling occasions with the highest flow), and during low flow and warm period, the relationship was negative in these four wetlands, indicating either anoxic stagnant water upstream or influence from rural wastewater.

The temporal dynamics of P concentrations mean that in some of the CWs, the main part of the annual P retention may occur during a few days with high water flows. The correlation between concentration and water flow suggests that the water sampling strategy may have a considerable impact on retention estimates, as exemplified by some calculation examples.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keyword
Constructed wetlands, Agricultural catchments, Flow–concentration relationships, Phosphorus retention estimates, Sampling strategy
National Category
Ecology Other Biological Topics Water Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117969 (URN)10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.11.050 (DOI)000402830800014 ()
Note

At the time for thesis presentation publication was in status: Manuscript

Funding agencies: Swedish Research Council Formas; Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF); Bertebos foundation; Sparbanksstiftelsen Kronan; Swedish Water Management Research Program (VASTRA); The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA)

Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2017-07-05Bibliographically approved
2. Efficiency of a constructed wetland for retention of sediment associated phosphorus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficiency of a constructed wetland for retention of sediment associated phosphorus
2011 (English)In: Hydrobiologia, ISSN 0018-8158, E-ISSN 1573-5117, Vol. 674, no 1, 179-190 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A constructed wetland (2.1 ha; 2% of catchment area) in southeast Sweden, in a catchment with 35% arable land on clay soils, was investigated with respect to phosphorus (P) retention, focusing on particulate P (PP) and sediment accretion. The aims were to i) estimate P retention and identify the dominating retention processes; ii) investigate how well estimates of P retention based on inflow-outflow measurements compared with the amount of P accumulated in the sediment. In- and outflow of P was measured during four years with continuous flow measurements and flow proportional weekly composite samples. P in the accumulated sediment was estimated based on core samples and analyzed using sequential fractionation. Total P load during four years was 65 kg/ha and intensive sampling events detected 69% as PP. Based on inflow-outflow estimates the mean P retention was 2.8 kg/ha/yr, or 17%, but the amount of P accumulated in the inlet zone  equated 78% of the TP load. This discrepancy showed the need to add studies of sediment accumulation to inflow-outflow estimates for an improved understanding of the P retention. The dominating P forms in the sediment were organic P (38%) and P associated with iron or aluminum (39%), i.e. potentially mobile forms. In areas colonized by Typha latifolia, the amount of P in the upper sediment layer (390 kg) was more than double the total P load of 136 kg. Cycling and release in those areas is a potential source of P that deserves further attention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2011
Keyword
Constructed wetland, long-term retention, diffuse pollution, particulate phosphorus, sediment accretion, sediment phosphorus fractions
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67880 (URN)10.1007/s10750-011-0728-y (DOI)000293163900013 ()
Note
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com: Karin Johannesson, Jonas Andersson and Karin Sundblad-Tonderski, Efficiency of a constructed wetland for retention of sediment associated phosphorus, 2011, Hydrobiologia, (674), 1, 179-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10750-011-0728-y Copyright: Springer Science Business Media http://www.springerlink.com/ Available from: 2011-05-02 Created: 2011-05-02 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
3. Phosphorus and particle retention in constructed wetlands—A catchment comparison
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Phosphorus and particle retention in constructed wetlands—A catchment comparison
Show others...
2015 (English)In: Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecotechnology, ISSN 0925-8574, E-ISSN 1872-6992, Vol. 80, 20-31 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Seven constructed wetlands (0.05–0.69 ha), situated in agricultural catchments (22–267 ha) in the south of Sweden, were studied for two years with two aims: to (i) quantify their function as sinks for particles and phosphorus (P) lost from the catchments, and (ii) investigate to what degree catchment and wetland characteristics and modeled loads (using hydrochemical catchment models) could be used to explain differences in retention between the wetlands. The wetland areas ranged from 0.04 to 0.8% of the respective catchment area, and they were situated in areas dominated by fine-textured soils with relatively high P losses and the main proportion of P transported in particulate form. Net P and particle retention were estimated during two years from annual accumulation of particles on sedimentation plates (40 × 40 cm) on the bottom of the wetlands.

There was an annual net retention of particles and P, but with a large variation (for particles 13–108 t ha−1 yr−1 and for P 11–175 kg ha−1 yr−1), both between wetlands and between years. The difference between the two years was larger than the difference in mean P retention between the seven wetlands. There was a positive relationship between P and particle retention and three catchment factors, i.e. P status (P-AL) of agricultural soils, average slope in the catchments and the livestock density, and a negative relationship with the agricultural soil clay content. In addition, there was a positive relationship with the wetland length:width ratio. Contrary to expectations, neither the modeled hydraulic load nor P load was significantly correlated with the measured particle and P retention. There was also a positive relationship between P concentration in the sediment and soil P status in the catchment. The results imply that considerable errors are introduced when down-scaling modeled regional nutrient losses to estimate the P loads to small wetlands in agriculturally dominated catchments. A more qualitative approach, using catchment characteristics for identification of hot-spot fields, may be equally good to identify suitable locations for constructed wetlands to reduce diffuse P loads.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keyword
Agricultural soilsCatchment characteristicsConstructed wetlandsPhosphorus retentionSediment plates
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-110405 (URN)10.1016/j.ecoleng.2014.08.014 (DOI)000355131600003 ()
Available from: 2014-09-10 Created: 2014-09-10 Last updated: 2017-12-05
4. Assessment of particle deposition and accumulation in newly constructed wetlands receiving agricultural runoff
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessment of particle deposition and accumulation in newly constructed wetlands receiving agricultural runoff
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study analysed variations in sediment deposition and accumulation to improve understanding of retention processes in small wetlands constructed on clay soils. Sediment deposition (in traps) and accumulation (on plates) was measured in four wetlands in east-central Sweden.

Particle deposition generally exceeded (up to eight-fold) the total particle load to the wetlands, especially in the spring-summer period, suggesting that the settled particles in the traps were generated from internal processes. The particles probably originated from erosion of the bottom and sides of the wetlands, or from production of organic material which deposited in the traps.

Particle resuspension was evident in all wetlands and considered an important process. Only 13-23% of the deposited material in the traps remained on the plates in the wetlands. Both particle deposition and accumulation was very low in one wetland receiving high hydraulic load (HL, 400 m yr-1), suggesting that such high-loaded wetlands are not efficient as particle sinks in clay soil areas. In the other wetlands, more than 80% of the total sediment accumulation occurred in the initial parts of the wetlands (which represented the first 20% of the total wetland area), indicating the importance of designing wetlands with an initial wetland section that is easy accessed for sediment removal as maintenance.

The results from this study point to the importance of internal processes and resuspension for annual particle accumulation in constructed wetlands.

National Category
Ecology Water Engineering Other Biological Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117970 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2016-12-09Bibliographically approved
5. Can spatial and temporal nutrient concentration variability be captured by catchment agro-geographical characteristics and water quality modelling?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Can spatial and temporal nutrient concentration variability be captured by catchment agro-geographical characteristics and water quality modelling?
Show others...
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In water management, source areas need to be identified and seasonal variability of nutrient flows assessed to facilitate design of cost-efficient mitigation programs. This study aimed at investigating to what degree sub-catchment spatial and temporal nutrient concentration variability could be captured by their agro-geographical characteristics and water quality modelling.

An agricultural catchment (160 km2) in Southeast Sweden was investigated with respect to source areas for phosphorus (P), nitrogen and particle losses. The specific aims were to 1) investigate the spatial variability of nutrient and particle concentrations and transport from different sub-catchments, 2) analyze if sub-catchment characteristics could explain differences in nutrient and particle concentration dynamics and overall nutrient losses, and 3) evaluate how well monitored temporal and spatial variability in nutrient concentrations could be simulated by a catchment model (HYPE). The purpose with the latter was to find recommendations for further model development and identify limitations for the use of catchment models in local water management.

Water flow was measured in two stations during 2009-2011. Grab samples were collected in synoptic sampling campaigns covering 10 sampling points during periods that represented various water flow regimes. Water samples were analyzed for total P (TP), dissolved phosphate (PO4-P), nitrate (NO3-N) and suspended matter (SUSP). The HYPE model was setup with the same detailed agro-geographical data as used for the statistical analyses of spatial and temporal correlations. The results showed that the sub-catchment variability of all measured nutrient concentrations were correlated with agro-geographical characteristics. All fractions of P concentrations were strongly correlated with soil type, whereas NO3-N concentrations were more related to crop factors. With regard to temporal dynamics of monitored concentrations, links to seasonality and water flow were more significant for NO3-N than for TP. Concentrations generated from the water quality model (HYPE) did not capture the subcatchment or temporal variability indicated from monitoring, particularly not for P concentrations. Neither did the modelled correlation between agro-geographical factors and concentrations correspond to that found for monitored concentrations. Some suggestions for model improvement were identified. Although water quality models are useful for local water management when it comes to modelling the impact of e.g. measures or climate change, our results suggest that their value might still be more limited when assessing variability on the subcatchment scale.

National Category
Ecology Water Engineering Other Biological Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117971 (URN)
Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2016-12-09Bibliographically approved

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