Dynamics of dissolved organic matter in riverine sediments affected by weir impoundments: Production, benthic flux, and environmental implications

Meilian Chen, Sung Han Kim, Heon Jae Jung, Jung Ho Hyun, Jung Hyun Choi, Hyo Jin Lee, In Ae Huh, Jin Hur

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In order to understand the characteristics and dynamics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the sediment of rivers affected by impoundments, we examined the vertical profiles and the benthic fluxes of DOM in four different core sediments located at upstream sites of weirs in major rivers of South Korea. In three out of four sites, exponential accumulation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) with depth was observed with the signature of seasonal variability. Except for the site displaying a below-detection limit of Fe(II), the general accumulation trends of DOC with depth was concurrent with the increases of Fe(II) and NH4 + and the decrease of PO4 3-, signifying a close linkage of the DOM dynamics with anaerobic respiration via iron reduction, an important early diagenesis pathway. The estimated benthic fluxes from the cores revealed that the sediments likely serve as DOC, chromophoric DOM (CDOM), and fluorescent DOM (FDOM) sources to the overlying water. The benthic effluxes based on DOC were comparable to the ranges previously reported in lake and coastal areas, and those of CDOM and FDOM showed even higher levels. These findings imply that impoundment-affected river systems would change the DOM composition of the overlying water, ultimately influencing the subsequent water treatment processes such as disinfection byproducts production and membrane fouling. A simple mass balance model indicated that the impoundment-affected river sediments may operate as a net carbon sink in the environments due to a greater extent of sedimentation compared to the estimated benthic efflux and sediment biological respiration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-161
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (No. 2014R1A2A2A09049496). Additional support was provided by the National Institute of Environmental Research in Korea. Special thanks go to Ms. Yun-Kyung Lee and Dr. Mi-Hee Lee for their kind assistance in laboratory analyses and related language communication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Benthic flux
  • DOM
  • Impoundment
  • Mass balance
  • Pore water


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