The loading of organic substrates into shallow aquifers may follow seasonal cycles, which will impact the transport and fate of agrichemicals. The objective of this research was to measure temporal changes in the groundwater dissolved organic C (DOC) and nitrate concentrations. Groundwater monitoring wells were installed and sediment samples from the aquifer were collected in 1991. Sediment samples were used to evaluate denitrification potentials, while water samples were collected at periodic intervals in 1992 and 1993 from the surface of the aquifer. Water samples were analyzed for nitrate-N and DOC-C. Denitrification was observed in sediment amended with nitrate and incubated under anaerobic conditions at 10°C. Addition of algae lazed biomass increased denitrification, establishing that denitrification was substrate limited. In the aquifer, DOC concentrations followed seasonal patterns. DOC concentrations were highest following spring recharge and then decreased. Peak timing indicates that freezing and thawing were responsible for seasonal DOC patterns. These findings show that seasonally driven physical processes, such as freezing and thawing, influence organic substrate transport from surface to subsurface environments, and that this process should be taken into account when assessing agrichemical detoxification rates in shallow aquifers.
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Clay, D. E.; Clay, S. A.; Moorman, T. B.; Brix-Davis, K.; Scholes, K. A.; and Bender, A. R., "Temporal Variability of Organic C and Nitrate in a Shallow Aquifer" (1996). Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Faculty Publications. 241.