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Open AccessArticle

Evaluating Temporal and Spatial Variation in Nitrogen Sources along the Lower Reach of Fenhe River (Shanxi Province, China) Using Stable Isotope and Hydrochemical Tracers

1
Institute of Loess Plateau, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China
2
Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(2), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020231
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Isotopes in Hydrology and Hydrogeology)
Nitrate is one of the most common pollutants in river systems. This study takes the lower reach of Fenhe River as a case study, combined with a multi-isotope and hydrochemical as the tracers to identify nitrate sources in river system. The results show that all samples in the industrial region (IR) and urban region (UR) and 68.8% of the samples in the agriculture region (AR) suffer from nitrate pollution. NO3–N is the main existing form of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), followed by NH4+–N, which account for 57.9% and 41.9% of the DIN, respectively. The temporal variation in nitrogenous species concentration is clear over the whole hydrological year. The spatial variation is smaller among different sampling sites in the same region but greater among different regions. The main source of nitrogenous species is from anthropogenic rather than natural effects. Multi-isotope analysis shows that denitrification is found in some water samples. Combined with the apportionment of nitrate sources by the IsoSource model and the analysis of the Cl content, the main source of nitrate in the IR, UR and AR are industrial sewage and manure, domestic sewage and manure, and chemical fertilizers, respectively. Atmospheric nitrogen deposition is also a source of nitrate in the study area. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic impact; nitrate isotope; quantitative analysis; river systems; temporal and spatial variation anthropogenic impact; nitrate isotope; quantitative analysis; river systems; temporal and spatial variation
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Meng, Z.; Yang, Y.; Qin, Z.; Huang, L. Evaluating Temporal and Spatial Variation in Nitrogen Sources along the Lower Reach of Fenhe River (Shanxi Province, China) Using Stable Isotope and Hydrochemical Tracers. Water 2018, 10, 231.

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