Suitability of temperature, hydraulic heads, and acesulfame to quantify wastewater-related fluxes in the hyporheic and riparian zone

Irina Engelhardt, Henning Prommer, Catherine Moore, Manoj Schulz, Christoph Schuth, Thomas Ternes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Groundwater and surface water are in many cases closely linked components of the water cycle with respect to both quantity and quality. Bank filtrates may eventually be impacted by the infiltration of wastewater-derived micropollutants from surface waters. Artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame have recently been reported as a novel class of potentially valuable tracers to study the fate of wastewater-derived substances in groundwater and, in particular, to determine the (bio)degradability of micropollutants. In this paper, a model-based analysis of a field experiment within the hyporheic and riparian zone of a highly polluted German stream was performed to assess the physical and chemical behavior of the artificial sweetener acesulfame. In the first part of this study, a reliable flow and transport model was established by jointly using hydraulic heads, temperatures, and acesulfame concentrations as inverse model calibration constraints. The analysis confirmed the conservative behavior of acesulfame and, therefore, its usability as an indicator of sewage flux provenance. However, a comparison of the appropriateness of hydraulic head, temperature, and acesulfame concentrations revealed that the characterization of the surface water-groundwater flux data indicated diurnal temperature fluctuations are the best indicator in terms of characterizing the flow and transport behavior in the groundwater system.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)426-440
    Number of pages15
    JournalWater Resources Research
    Volume49
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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