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Concentrations and characteristics of organic carbon in surface water in Arizona: Influence of urbanization

Journal of Hydrology

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and
DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(00)00292-4

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Abstract

Dissolved (DOC) and total (TOC) organic carbon concentrations and compositions were studied for several river systems in Arizona, USA. DOC composition was characterized by ultraviolet and visible absorption and fluorescence emission (excitation wavelength of 370 nm) spectra characteristics. Ephemeral sites had the highest DOC concentrations, and unregulated perennial sites had lower concentrations than unregulated intermittent sites, regulated sites, and sites downstream from wastewater-treatment plants (p < 0.05). Reservoir outflows and wastewater-treatment plant effluent were higher in DOC concentration (p < 0.05) and exhibited less variability in concentration than inflows to the reservoirs. Specific ultraviolet absorbance values at 254 nm were typically less than 2 m-1(milligram DOC per liter)-1 and lower than values found in most temperate-region rivers, but specific ultraviolet absorbance values increased during runoff events. Fluorescence measurements indicated that DOC in desert streams typically exhibit characteristics of autochthonous sources; however, DOC in unregulated upland rivers and desert streams experienced sudden shifts from autochthonous to allochthonous sources during runoff events. The urban water system (reservoir systems and wastewater-treatment plants) was found to affect temporal variability in DOC concentration and composition. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.Dissolved (DOC) and total (TOC) organic carbon concentrations and compositions were studied for several river systems in Arizona, USA. DOC composition was characterized by ultraviolet and visible absorption and fluorescence emission (excitation wavelength of 370 nm) spectra characteristics. Ephemeral sites had the highest DOC concentrations, and unregulated perennial sites had lower concentrations than unregulated intermittent sites, regulated sites, and sites downstream from wastewater-treatment plants (p<0.05). Reservoir outflows and wastewater-treatment plant effluent were higher in DOC concentration (p<0.05) and exhibited less variability in concentration than inflows to the reservoirs. Specific ultraviolet absorbance values at 254 nm were typically less than 2 m-1(milligram DOC per liter)-1 and lower than values found in most temperate-region rivers, but specific ultraviolet absorbance values increased during runoff events. Fluorescence measurements indicated that DOC in desert streams typically exhibit characteristics of autochthonous sources; however, DOC in unregulated upland rivers and desert streams experienced sudden shifts from autochthonous to allochthonous sources during runoff events. The urban water system (reservoir systems and wastewater-treatment plants) was found to affect temporal variability in DOC concentration and composition.The influence of urbanization, becoming increasingly common in arid regions, on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations in surface water resources was studied. DOC concentration and composition, seasonal watershed runoff events, streamflow variations, water management practices, and urban infrastructure in several Arizona watersheds were monitored. Ephemeral sites had the highest DOC levels, and unregulated perennial sites and lower concentrations than unregulated intermittent sites, regulated sites, and sites downstream from wastewater treatment plants. Reservoir outflows and wastewater treatment plant effluent had higher and less variable DOC concentrations than inflows to reservoirs. UV absorbance values, fluorescence measurements, and other indicators suggest that urban water systems (reservoirs and wastewater treatment plants) affect temporal variability in DOC concentration and composition.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Concentrations and characteristics of organic carbon in surface water in Arizona: Influence of urbanization
Series title:
Journal of Hydrology
DOI:
10.1016/S0022-1694(00)00292-4
Volume
236
Issue:
3-4
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Science B.V.
Publisher location:
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Hydrology
First page:
202
Last page:
222