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Publications (9)14.02 Total impact

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    EGU General Assembly, Vienna; 04/2014
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    EGU General Assembly, Vienna; 04/2014
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports the results of a 2-year study of water quality in the River Enborne, a rural river in lowland England. Concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus species and other chemical determinands were monitored both at high-frequency (hourly), using automated in situ instrumentation, and by manual weekly sampling and laboratory analysis. The catchment land use is largely agricultural, with a population density of 123 persons km−2. The river water is largely derived from calcareous groundwater, and there are high nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations. Agricultural fertiliser is the dominant source of annual loads of both nitrogen and phosphorus. However, the data show that sewage effluent discharges have a disproportionate effect on the river nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics. At least 38% of the catchment population use septic tank systems, but the effects are hard to quantify as only 6% are officially registered, and the characteristics of the others are unknown. Only 4% of the phosphorus input and 9% of the nitrogen input is exported from the catchment by the river, highlighting the importance of catchment process understanding in predicting nutrient concentrations. High-frequency monitoring will be a key to developing this vital process understanding.
    Water. 01/2014; 6:150-180.
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    EGU General Assembly, Vienna; 04/2013
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    ABSTRACT: This work focuses on the insights obtained from in situ, high-resolution hydrochemical monitoring in three lowland UK catchments experiencing different levels of nutrient enrichment. Between November 2009 and February 2012, the upper River Kennet, the River Enborne and The Cut, all located within the Thames basin, southeast England, were instrumented with in situ analytical equipment to make hourly measurements of a range of hydrochemical determinands. The upper River Kennet is a rural catchment with limited effluent inputs above the selected monitoring point. The River Enborne is a rural catchment, impacted by agricultural runoff, and septic tank and sewage treatment works (STWs) discharges. The Cut is a highly urbanised system significantly affected by STW discharges. On the upper River Kennet and the River Enborne hourly measurements of Total Reactive Phosphorus (TRP) were made using a Systea Micromac C. In addition on the River Enborne, a Hach Lange Nitratax was used to measure nitrate (NO3). On The Cut both Total P and TRP were measured using a Hach Lange Phosphax Sigma. At all stations nutrient monitoring was supplemented with hourly pH, chlorophyll, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity and water temperature using YSI 6600 Multi-parameter sondes. Instream hydrochemical dynamics were investigated using non-stationary time-series analysis techniques. The results reveal complex nutrient dynamics, with diurnal patterns which exhibit seasonal changes in phase and amplitude, and are influenced by flow conditions, shading and nutrient sources. On the River Enborne a marked diurnal cycle was present within the streamwater NO3 time-series. The cycle was strongest in the spring before riparian shading developed. At times of low flow a two peak diurnal cycle was also evident in the streamwater NO3 time-series. The reduction in diurnal NO3 processing after the development of riparian shading was also accompanied by a marked drop in dissolved oxygen at this time. The presence of a two peak diurnal cycle is indicative of the dominance of STW discharges to the system, as STW discharges exhibit a marked two peak diurnal cycle associated with peak water usage. This two peak diurnal cycling can also been seen in the River Enborne TRP data. The dominance of effluent discharges was also evident in the River Enborne seasonal NO3 and TRP dynamics. Both determinands displayed summer time peaks caused by the reduced dilution capacity of the system and increased water residence time during the low flow summer months. The TP and TRP dynamics on The Cut were highly complex with significant diurnal fluctuations. Although, a two peak diurnal signal was evident within the TRP time-series it was difficult to characterise due to the complexity of the dynamics observed. Monitoring on the upper River Kennet highlighted the challenges associated with undertaking in situ analytical monitoring without mains electricity. Resampling of the data at lower sampling frequencies demonstrated that within the point-source dominated catchments, daily monitoring was sufficient for accurate load estimation.
    Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 11/2012; 16:4323-4342. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper introduces new insights into the hydrochemical functioning of lowland river systems using field-based spectrophotometric and electrode technologies. The streamwater concentrations of nitrogen species and phosphorus fractions were measured at hourly intervals on a continuous basis at two contrasting sites on tributaries of the River Thames - one draining a rural catchment, the River Enborne, and one draining a more urban system, The Cut. The measurements complement those from an existing network of multi-parameter water quality sondes maintained across the Thames catchment and weekly monitoring based on grab samples. The results of the sub-daily monitoring show that streamwater phosphorus concentrations display highly complex dynamics under storm conditions dependent on the antecedent catchment wetness, and that diurnal phosphorus and nitrogen cycles occur under low flow conditions. The diurnal patterns highlight the dominance of sewage inputs in controlling the streamwater phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations at low flows, even at a distance of 7 km from the nearest sewage treatment works in the rural River Enborne. The time of sample collection is important when judging water quality against ecological thresholds or standards. An exhaustion of the supply of phosphorus from diffuse and multiple septic tank sources during storm events was evident and load estimation was not improved by sub-daily monitoring beyond that achieved by daily sampling because of the eventual reduction in the phosphorus mass entering the stream during events. The results highlight the utility of sub-daily water quality measurements and the discussion considers the practicalities and challenges of in situ, sub-daily monitoring.
    Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 11/2012; 16:4323-4342. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper introduces new insights into the hydrochemical functioning of lowland river-systems using field-based spectrophotometric and electrode technologies. The streamwater concentrations of nitrogen species and phosphorus fractions were measured at hourly intervals on a continuous basis at two contrasting sites on tributaries of the River Thames, one draining a rural catchment, the River Enborne, and one draining a more urban system, The Cut. The measurements complement those from an existing network of multi-parameter water quality sondes maintained across the Thames catchment and weekly monitoring based on grab samples. The results of the sub-daily monitoring show that streamwater phosphorus concentrations display highly complex, seemingly chaotic, dynamics under storm conditions dependent on the antecedent catchment wetness, and that diurnal phosphorus and nitrogen cycles occur under low flow conditions. The diurnal patterns highlight the dominance of sewage inputs in controlling the streamwater phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations at low flows, even at a distance of 7 km from the nearest sewage works in the rural, River Enborne, and that the time of sample collection is important when judging water quality against ecological thresholds or standards. An exhaustion of the supply of phosphorus from diffuse and septic tank sources during storm events was evident and load estimation was not improved by sub-daily monitoring beyond that achieved by daily sampling because of the eventual reduction in the phosphorus mass entering the stream during events. The dominance of respiration over photosynthesis in The Cut indicated a prevalence of heterotrophic algae, and the seasonal patterns in respiration and photosynthesis corresponded with those of temperature and light in this nutrient over-enriched stream. These results highlight the utility of sub-daily water quality measurements but the deployment of modified wet-chemistry technologies into the field was limited by mains electricity availability. A new approach is therefore needed to allow measurement of a wide range of analytes at a broader range of locations for the development of water quality web-sensor networks. The development and field deployment of a miniaturised "lab-on-a-chip" ion chromatograph is proposed and justified.
    Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 05/2012; 9(5):6457-6506. · 3.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chlorophyll-a and nutrient concentrations were monitored at weekly intervals across 21 river sites throughout the River Thames basin, southern England, between 2009 and 2011. Despite a 90% decrease in soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentration of the lower River Thames since the 1990s, very large phytoplankton blooms still occur. Chlorophyll concentrations were highest in the mid and lower River Thames and the larger tributaries. Lowest chlorophyll concentrations were observed in the smaller tributaries, despite some having very high phosphorus concentrations of over 300 μg l(-1). There was a strong positive correlation between river length and mean chlorophyll concentration (R(2)=0.82), and rivers connected to canals had ca. six times greater chlorophyll concentration than 'natural' rivers with similar phosphorus concentrations, indicating the importance that residence time has on determining phytoplankton biomass. Phosphorus concentration did have some influence, with phosphorus-enriched rivers having much larger phytoplankton blooms than nutrient-poor rivers of a similar length. Water quality improvements may now be capping chlorophyll peaks in the Rivers Thames and Kennet, due to SRP depletion during the spring/early summer phytoplankton bloom period. Dissolved reactive silicon was also depleted to potentially-limiting concentrations for diatom growth in the River Thames during these phytoplankton blooms, but nitrate remained in excess for all rivers throughout the study period. Other potential mitigation measures, such as increasing riparian shading and reducing residence times by removing impoundments may be needed, alongside phosphorus mitigation, to reduce the magnitude of phytoplankton blooms in the future.
    Science of The Total Environment 04/2012; 426:45-55. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Model-based assessments of the impacts of environmental change on European freshwater ecosystems are needed to aid informed resource management. This talk will focus on how such model-based assessments can be improved using the latest results from in-situ, continuous sub-daily water quality monitoring in upland and lowland UK river systems. Two catchments in the lowland Thames basin, the Enborne and The Cut, have been instrumented since November 2009 to examine the water quality dynamics using laboratory instruments (Hach-Lange; Micromac) installed in the field to produce hourly measurements of nutrient dynamics. Total Phosphorus and Total Reactive Phosphorus were measured in The Cut and nitrate was measured in the Enborne. These data were supplemented at both sites by nearby flow measurements and data collected using YSI multi-parameter sondes fitted with pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity and water temperature probes. Experiences of installing and using these in-situ technologies will be described. The observed dynamics evident in these datasets will be compared to those identified at Plynlimon, Wales, which represent the hydrochemical functioning of an upland river-system. Both the lowland and upland data will be interpreted in terms of: the gain in information by sampling at sub-daily frequencies (and what is lost by sampling at lower frequencies); new information derived in terms of hydrochemical functioning; and the implications for progressing hydrochemical models. As part of the discussion, new opportunities from 'lab-on-a-chip' technologies will be described.
    EGU General Assembly, Vienna; 01/2012