A field study at Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho, USA, was conducted between October 1998 and August 2001 to examine the potential importance of sediment-water interactions on contaminant transport and to provide the first direct measurements of the benthic flux of dissolved solutes of environmental concern in this lake. Because of potential ecological effects, dissolved zinc and orthophosphate were the solutes of primary interest. Results from deployments of an in situ flux chamber indicated that benthic fluxes of dissolved Zn and orthophosphate were comparable in magnitude to riverine inputs. Tracer analyses and benthic-community metrics provided evidence that solute benthic flux were diffusion-controlled at the flux-chamber deployment sites. That is, effects of biomixing (or bioturbation) and ground-water interactions did not strongly influence benthic flux. Remediation efforts in the river might not produce desired water-quality effects in the lake because imposed shifts in concentration gradients near the sediment-water interface would generate a benthic feedback response. Therefore, development of water-quality models to justify remediation strategies requires consideration of contaminant flux between the water column and underlying sediment in basins that have been affected by long-term (decadal) anthropogenic activities.
Additional publication details
Importance of Sediment-Water Interactions in Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho, USA: Management Implications