Influences of seasonal flow regime on the fate and transport of fine particles and a dissolved solute in a New England stream

Diana L. Karwan, James E. Saiers

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Abstract

Fine particles are necessary for biogeochemical cycling but pose a risk to water quality if they are present in excess or carry sorbed contaminants. The objective of this work is to elucidate the effects of flow on the transport and retention of fine particles within a mountain stream and to compare particulate matter transport processes to those of a conservative solute tracer. We measured the migration of bromide (a conservative solute tracer) and micrometer-sized titanium-dioxide particles under three seasonal flow regimes in second-order stream in Connecticut. A one-dimensional transport model based upon the transient storage model was applied in inverse mode to the measured data to quantify solute and particle transport processes. Rates of particle movement by advection and longitudinal dispersion matched those of bromide. Transient, or temporary, storage influenced conservative solute transport, while particle storage was irreversible on the time scale of our experiments and likely dominated by deposition within the sediments of the hyporheic zone. Both solute transient storage and particle deposition increased with decreasing discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW11423
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume45
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

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