Stormwater infiltration basins (SIBs) are vegetated depressions that collect stormwater and allow it to infiltrate to underlying groundwater. Their pollutant removal efficiency is affected by the properties of the soils in which they are constructed. We assessed the soil nitrogen (N) cycle processes that produce and remove inorganic N in two urban SIBs, with the goal of further understanding the mechanisms that control N removal efficiency. We measured net N mineralization, nitrification, and potential denitrification in wet and dry seasons along a sedimentation gradient in two SIBs in the subtropical Tampa, Florida urban area. Net N mineralization was higher in the wet season than in the dry season; however, nitrification was higher in the dry season, providing a pool of highly mobile nitrate that would be susceptible to leaching during periodic dry season storms or with the onset of the following wet season. Denitrification decreased along the sediment gradient from the runoff inlet zone (up to 5.2 μg N/g h) to the outermost zone (up to 3.5 μg N/g h), providing significant spatial variation in inorganic N removal for the SIBs. Sediment accumulating around the inflow areas likely provided a carbon source, as well as maintained stable anaerobic conditions, which would enhance N removal.
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