Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

4-2010

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Environmental Quality

Volume

39

Issue

3

First Page

882

Last Page

895

DOI

10.2134/jeq2009.0289

Abstract

A watershed's water quality is influenced by contaminant-transport pathways unique to each landscape. Accurate information on contaminant-pathways could provide a basis for mitigation through well-targeted approaches. This study determined dynamics of nitrate-N, total P, Escherichia coli, and sediment during a runoff event in Tipton Creek, Iowa. The watershed, under crop and livestock production, has extensive tile drainage discharging through an alluvial valley. A September 2006 storm yielded 5.9 mm of discharge during the ensuing 7 d, which was monitored at the outlet (19,850 ha), two tile-drainage outfalls (total 1856 ha), and a runoff flume (11 ha) within the sloped valley. Hydrograph separations indicated 13% of tile discharge was from surface intakes. Tile and outlet nitrate-N loads were similar, verifying subsurface tiles dominate nitrate delivery. On a unit-area basis, tile total P and E. coli loads, respectively, were about half and 30% of the outlet's; their rapid, synchronous timing showed surface intakes are an important pathway for both contaminants. Flume results indicated field runoff was a significant source of total P and E. coli loads, but not the dominant one. At the outlet, sediment, P, and E. coli were reasonably synchronous. Radionuclide activities of (7)Be and (210)Pb in suspended sediments showed sheet-and-rill erosion sourced only 22% of sediment contributions; therefore, channel sources dominated and were an important source of P and E. coli. The contaminants followed unique pathways, necessitating separate mitigation strategies. To comprehensively address water quality, erosion-control and nitrogen-management practices currently encouraged could be complemented by buffering surface intakes and stabilizing stream banks.

Comments

This article is from Journal of Environmental Quality 39 (2010): 882, doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0289.

Rights

Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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