CO2 Outgassing from an Urbanized River System Fueled by Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluents

Tae Kyung Yoon, Hyojin Jin, Most Shirina Begum, Namgoo Kang, Ji Hyung Park

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Continuous underway measurements were combined with a basin-scale survey to examine human impacts on CO2 outgassing in a highly urbanized river system in Korea. While the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) was measured at 15 sites using syringe equilibration, 3 cruises employing an equilibrator were done along a 30 km transect in the Seoul metropolitan area. The basin-scale survey revealed longitudinal increases in surface water pCO2 and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the downstream reach. Downstream increases in pCO2, DOC, fluorescence index, and inorganic N and P reflected disproportionately large contributions from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents carried by major urban tributaries. Cruise transects exhibited strong localized peaks of pCO2 up to 13 000 μatm and 13CO2 enrichment along the confluences of tributaries at an average flow, whereas CO2 pulses were dampened by increased flow during the monsoon period. Fluctuations in pCO2 along the eutrophic reach downstream of the confluences reflected environmental controls on the balance between photosynthesis, biodegradation, and outgassing. The results underscore WWTP effluents as an anthropogenic source of nutrients, DOC, and CO2 and their influences on algal blooms and associated C dynamics in eutrophic urbanized river systems, warranting further research on urbanization-induced perturbations to riverine metabolic processes and carbon fluxes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10459-10467
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number18
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2017

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© 2017 American Chemical Society.


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