Effects of Nitrate Input from a Water Reclamation Facility on the Occoquan Reservoir Water Quality

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Water Environment Research






To manage water quality in the Occoquan Reservoir, Virginia, a water reclamation facility discharges nitrified product water that reduces the release of undesirable substances (e.g., phosphorus, iron, and ammonia) from sediments during periods of hypolimnetic anoxia. Results showed that when the oxidized nitrogen (OxN) concentration input to the reservoir was lower than 5 mg N/L during periods of anoxia following thermal stratification, nitrate was depleted in the upper reaches of the reservoir resulting in the release of ammonia and orthophosphate from the sediments downstream. When the OxN input to the reservoir was operationally increased to a concentration greater than 10 mg-N/L, orthophosphate release was suppressed. Introducing OxN to the system decreased sediment ammonia release but did not eliminate it. By discharging reclaimed water that contained nitrate levels greater than 10 mg N/L, reservoir water quality was protected and the discharged nitrate was converted to nitrogen gas as it moved downstream.


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