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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Surface Water Quality

Removal of Organic Matter and Nitrogen from River Water in a Model Floodplain


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 3, p. 1017-1023
    Received: Apr 15, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): jbchung@daegu.ac.kr
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  1. Jong-Bae Chung *a,
  2. Seung-Hyun Kimc,
  3. Byeong-Ryong Jeongb and
  4. Young-Deuk Leea
  1. a Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Daegu University, Gyeongsan 712-714, Korea
    c Department of Environmental Engineering, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 712-749, Korea
    b Department of Agronomy, Daegu University, Gyeongsan 712-714, Korea


A significant improvement in river water quality cannot be expected unless nonpoint-source contaminants are treated in addition to the further treatment of point-source contaminants. If river water is sprayed over a floodplain, the consequent water filtration through the sediment profile can simultaneously remove organic matter and nitrogen in the water through aerobic and denitrifying reactions. This hypothesis was tested using lysimeters constructed from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe (150 cm long, 15 cm in diameter) packed with loamy sand floodplain sediment. Water was applied to the top of the lysimeters at three different flow rates (48, 54, and 68 mm d−1). Concentrations of NO3 and dissolved oxygen (DO), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and redox potential (Eh) in the water were measured as functions of depth after the system reached steady states for both water flow and reactions. At the rate of 68.0 mm d−1, a reducing condition for denitrification developed below the 5-cm depth due to the depletion of O2 by organic matter degradation in the surface oxidizing layer; Eh and DO were below 205 mV and 0.4 mg L−1, respectively. At a depth of 70 cm, COD and NO3–N concentration decreased to 5.2 and 3.8 mg L−1 from the respective influent concentrations of 17.1 and 6.2 mg L−1 Most biodegradable organic matter was removed during flow and further removal of NO3 was limited by the lack of an electron donor (i.e., organic matter). These results indicate that the floodplain filtration technique has great promise for treatment of contaminated river water.

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