Isotopic Assessment of Sources of Surface Water Nitrate within the Oldman River Basin, Southern Alberta, Canada

Luc Rock, B. Mayer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    33 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Concentrations and isotopic compositions of NO-3 from the Oldman River (OMR) and some of its tributaries (Alberta, Canada) have been determined on a monthly basis since December 2000 to assess temporal and spatial variations of riverine NO-3 sources within the OMR basin. For the OMR sites, NO-3 -N concentrations reached up to 0.34 mg L-1, d15N-NO-3 values varied between –0.3 and +13.8‰, and d18O-NO-3 values ranged from –10.0 to +5.7‰. For the tributary sites, NO-3 -N concentrations were as high as 8.81 mg L-1, d15N-NO-3 values varied between –2.5 and +23.4‰, and d18O-NO-3 values ranged from –15.2 to +3.4‰. Tributaries in the western, relatively pristine forested part of the watershed add predominantly NO-3 to the OMR with d15N-NO-3 indicative of soil nitrification. In contrast, tributaries in the eastern agriculturally-urban-industrially-used part of the basin contribute NO-3 with d15N-NO-3 values of about +16‰ indicative of manure and/or sewage derived NO-3. This difference in d15N-NO-3 values of tributaries was found to be independent of the season, but rather indicates a spatial change in the NO-3 source, which correlates with land use changes within the OMR basin. As a consequence of tributary influx, d15N-NO-3 values in the Oldman River increased from +6‰ in the downstream direction (W to E), although [NO-3 -N] increased only moderately (generally
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-562
    Number of pages18
    JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
    VolumeFocus: 4
    Issue number2-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pollution
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
    • Earth-Surface Processes

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