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Open Access Effects of Nitrate Input from a Water Reclamation Facility on the Occoquan Reservoir Water Quality

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To manage water quality in the Occoquan Reservoir, Virginia, a water reclamation facility discharges nitrified product water that reduces the release of undesirable substances (e.g., phosphorus, iron, and ammonia) from sediments during periods of hypolimnetic anoxia. Results showed that when the oxidized nitrogen (OxN) concentration input to the reservoir was lower than 5 mg N/L during periods of anoxia following thermal stratification, nitrate was depleted in the upper reaches of the reservoir resulting in the release of ammonia and orthophosphate from the sediments downstream. When the OxN input to the reservoir was operationally increased to a concentration greater than 10 mg-N/L, orthophosphate release was suppressed. Introducing OxN to the system decreased sediment ammonia release but did not eliminate it. By discharging reclaimed water that contained nitrate levels greater than 10 mg N/L, reservoir water quality was protected and the discharged nitrate was converted to nitrogen gas as it moved downstream.

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Keywords: ammonia release; lake and reservoir management; nitrate; phosphorus release; sediments; water reuse

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, USA

Publication date: 2014-02-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

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