Sediment internal nutrient loading in the most polluted area of a shallow eutrophic lake (Lake Chaohu, China) and its contribution to lake eutrophication.Environ Pollut. 2020 Jul; 262:114292.EP
It is well known that sediment internal loading can worsen lake water quality for many years even if effective measures have been taken to control external loading. In this study, a 12-month field study was carried out to reveal the relationship between sediment phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) forms as well as their fluxes across sediment-water interface from the most polluted area of Lake Chaohu, a large shallow eutrophication lake in China. The possible contribution of mobile fraction of P and N to lake eutrophication is also analyzed. The results indicate that the content of total P and N and their forms in water and sediment were rather dynamic during the year-long field investigation. Low concentrations of P and N from sediment and overlying water were observed in the winter but increased sharply in summer. The phosphate and ammonium fluxes showed evident seasonal variation, and higher fluxes can be observed in warmer seasons especially during the period of algal bloom with high sedimentation. The reduction of ferric iron and degradation of organic matter could be responsible for the increased P flux from sediment in algal bloom seasons, which is consistent with the seasonal variation of P forms in sediment. A comparison of the mole ratio of P flux:N flux to both the P:N mole ratio in sediments and the Redfield ratio was used to further distinguish the dominant sediment P forms' release during seasonal variation. Moreover, the anoxic condition and enhanced microbial activity in warmer seasons contribute a lot to the ammonium release from sediment. Consequently, the nutrient fluxes seasonally influence their corresponding nutrient concentrations in the overlying water. The results of this study indicate that sediment internal loading plays an important role in the eutrophication of Lake Chaohu.