O 2 reduction and denitrification rates in shallow aquifers

Water Resources Research
By:  and 



O 2 reduction and denitrification rates were determined in shallow aquifers of 12 study areas representing a wide range in sedimentary environments and climatic conditions. Zero-and first-order rates were determined by relating reactant or product concentrations to apparent groundwater age. O 2 reduction rates varied widely within and between sites, with zero-order rates ranging from <3 ??mol L -1 yr -1 to more than 140 ??mol L -1 yr -1 and first-order rates ranging from 0.02 to 0.27 yr -1. Moderate denitrification rates (10-100 ??mol N L -1 yr -1; 0.06-0.30 yr -1) were observed in most areas with O 2 concentrations below 60 mol L -1, while higher rates (>100 mol N L -1 yr -1; >0.36 yr -1) occur when changes in lithology result in a sharp increase in the supply of electron donors. Denitrification lag times (i.e., groundwater travel times prior to the onset of denitrification) ranged from <20 yr to >80 yr. The availability of electron donors is indicated as the primary factor affecting O 2 reduction rates. Concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and/or sulfate (an indicator of sulfide oxidation) were positively correlated with groundwater age at sites with high O 2 reduction rates and negatively correlated at sites with lower rates. Furthermore, electron donors from recharging DOC are not sufficient to account for appreciable O 2 and nitrate reduction. These relations suggest that lithologic sources of DOC and sulfides are important sources of electrons at these sites but surface-derived sources of DOC are not. A review of published rates suggests that denitrification tends to occur more quickly when linked with sulfide oxidation than with carbon oxidation. copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title O 2 reduction and denitrification rates in shallow aquifers
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/2011WR010471
Volume 47
Issue 12
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Water Resources Research
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