Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 August 2024 | Viewed by 5033

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Environmental Measurement and Analysis Center, National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon 22689, Republic of Korea
Interests: water environment; pollution; stable isotopes; source identification; environmental forensic science; food web; primary production; biogeochemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Most of the water quality management of agriculture, rivers and lakes has been centered on point sources of domestic sewage, livestock wastewater, and industrial wastewater. As point source pollution from industries and urban areas can be removed in significant amounts with the development of wastewater treatment technology, interest in countermeasures against non-point pollution sources is increasing. In particular, complex land basins in which various non-point pollution sources such as farmland, livestock, forests, and urban areas are scattered are difficult to manage because it is difficult to identify pollution sources; as a result, it can be difficult to improve water quality despite the expansion of point pollution source treatment facilities. However, it may be possible to identify the pollution sources when using various chemical properties such as stable isotopes, fluorescent substances, elemental contents, nutrients, etc.

This Special Issue aims to focus on the environmental behavior of water elements and pollutants, the interaction between pollutants and aquatic organisms, and their ecological effects. Additionally, it seeks to explore and analyze the evolution of aquatic ecosystems in order to identify the anthropogenic pollution source. This Special Issue conducts an in-depth and systematic cross-disciplinary research analysis on water environmental quality assessment (including environmental forensic science, ecology, environmental chemistry, etc.). The research results can provide scientific basis and theoretical support for evaluating water quality and potential ecological risks of emerging  pollutants.

Dr. Min-Seob Kim
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • watershed water environment
  • water quality assessment
  • stable isotopes
  • source identification
  • nutrient pollution
  • urban sewage
  • point and non-point source
  • foodway transfer
  • climate change

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 4134 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of the Performance of Nature-Based Constructed Wetlands for Treating Wastewater from Various Land Uses in Korea
by Hyeseon Choi, Minsu Jeon, Franz Kevin Geronimo, Lee-Hyung Kim and Joong-Hyuk Min
Water 2024, 16(3), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16030381 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 851
Abstract
Land use changes, specifically the growth of impervious areas due to urbanization, exacerbate non-point-source pollutants in stormwater runoff, surpassing discharge from point sources in Korea. The application of nature-based solutions, such as constructed wetlands (CWs), is becoming popular for stormwater treatment, but challenges [...] Read more.
Land use changes, specifically the growth of impervious areas due to urbanization, exacerbate non-point-source pollutants in stormwater runoff, surpassing discharge from point sources in Korea. The application of nature-based solutions, such as constructed wetlands (CWs), is becoming popular for stormwater treatment, but challenges arise when background concentrations are overlooked, leading to reduced pollutant removal efficiency. This study aims to propose a plan for the sustainability of CWs by evaluating design appropriateness and utilizing existing monitoring results. The evaluation of 63 CWs reveals that meteorological factors, specifically antecedent dry days and rainfall depth, have significant impacts on urban stormwater runoff quality in various land uses, affecting the performance of CWs. Designing CWs considering land use is crucial due to the considerable concentration variations across different land uses. Improving CW performance requires proper maintenance strategies to ensure effective pollutant removal mechanisms, especially for poorly degradable organic substances post treatment. Rainfall characteristics play a pivotal role in CW design and operation, affecting capacity, efficiency estimation, and maintenance frequency. Considering various factors such as land use, watershed characteristics, and ease of maintenance is essential when utilizing CWs. This study’s findings contribute to the design and operation of future CWs, emphasizing the need for continuous performance analyses through long-term monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds)
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16 pages, 6284 KiB  
Article
A Quantitative Approach for Identifying Nitrogen Sources in Complex Yeongsan River Watershed, Republic of Korea, Based on Dual Nitrogen Isotope Ratios and Hydrological Model
by Seoyeon Hong, Youngun Han, Jihae Kim, Bo Ra Lim, Si-Young Park, Heeju Choi, Mi Rae Park, Eunmi Kim, Soohyung Lee, Yujeong Huh, Kyunghyun Kim, Won-Seok Lee, Taewoo Kang and Min-Seob Kim
Water 2023, 15(24), 4275; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15244275 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 839
Abstract
Effective management of nitrate loading in complex river systems requires quantitative estimation to trace different nitrogen sources. This study aims to validate an integrated framework using soluble nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N–NH4 and δ15N–NO3) and hydrological modeling [...] Read more.
Effective management of nitrate loading in complex river systems requires quantitative estimation to trace different nitrogen sources. This study aims to validate an integrated framework using soluble nitrogen isotope ratios (δ15N–NH4 and δ15N–NO3) and hydrological modeling (hydrological simulation program SPARROW) of the main stream and tributaries in the Yeongsan River to determine anthropogenic nitrogen fluxes among different land-use types in the complex river watershed. The δ15N–NH4 and δ15N–NO3 isotopic compositions varied across different land-use types (4.9 to 15.5‰ for δ15N–NH4 and −4.9 to 12.1‰ for δ15N–NO3), reflecting the different sources of nitrogen in the watershed (soil N including synthetic fertilizer N, manure N, and sewage treatment plant effluent N). We compared the soluble nitrogen isotopic compositions (δ15N–NH4 and δ15N–NO3) of the river water with various nitrogen sources (soil N, manure N, and sewage N) to assess their contribution, revealing that N from sewage treatment plant effluent as a point source was dominant during the dry season and N from forest- and soil-derived non-point sources was dominant due to intensive rainfall during the wet season. The coefficient of determination (R2) between the measured pollution load and the predicted pollution load calculated by the SPARROW model was 0.95, indicating a high correlation. In addition, the EMMA-based nitrogen contributions compared to the SPARROW-based nitrogen fluxes were similar to each other, indicating that large amounts of forest- and soil-derived N may be transported to the Yeongsan River watershed as non-point sources, along with the effect of sewage treatment plant effluent N as a point source. This study provides valuable insights for the formulation of management policies to control nitrogen inputs from point and non-point sources across different land-use types for the restoration of water quality and aquatic ecosystems in complex river systems. Given the recent escalation in human activity near aquatic environments, this framework is effective in estimating the quantitative contribution of individual anthropogenic nitrogen sources transported along riverine systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds)
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17 pages, 4435 KiB  
Article
Revealing the Extent of Pesticide Runoff to the Surface Water in Agricultural Watersheds
by Young-Eun Kim, Darae Jeon, Hyeri Lee, Yujeong Huh, Soohyung Lee, Jong Guk Kim and Hyoung Seop Kim
Water 2023, 15(22), 3984; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223984 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 975
Abstract
Pesticides are beneficial in protecting crops from pests and improving agricultural productivity; however, concerns on pesticide pollution in water have increased due to their indiscriminate use and lack of adequate regulations. Many studies have focused on the risks of pesticides considering the limited [...] Read more.
Pesticides are beneficial in protecting crops from pests and improving agricultural productivity; however, concerns on pesticide pollution in water have increased due to their indiscriminate use and lack of adequate regulations. Many studies have focused on the risks of pesticides considering the limited number and types of pesticide residues in crops and soils, and duration, and very few have focused on surface water throughout the year. Therefore, this study comprehensively identified 308 pesticides in surface water samples collected monthly over one year in the Saemangeum Basin, Korea. Both targeted and non-targeted analyses were used to identify 171 and 24 pesticides, respectively. Results highlight the extensive extent of pesticide contamination. Among the quantified pesticides, bromobutide and pretilachlor consistently exhibited high concentrations and risk levels, as indicated by their elevated risk quotient (RQ) values. Seasonal variations in pesticide concentrations revealed distinct patterns with intensified herbicide use during summer and increased insecticide concentrations during autumn. This study highlights the presence, distribution, and associated ecological risks of pesticides in surface waters, emphasizing the necessity of comprehensive monitoring and regulatory measures to protect aquatic ecosystems. The high RQ values identified for specific pesticides underscore the urgent need to implement effective strategies to mitigate these environmental risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds)
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18 pages, 2868 KiB  
Article
Accumulation and Origin of Phosphorus and Heavy Metals in Citrus Orchard Soils in Jeju Island, South Korea: Potential Ecological Risks and Bioavailability
by Tae-Woo Kang, Hae Jong Yang, Won-Seok Lee, Bon-Jun Koo and Won-Pyo Park
Water 2023, 15(22), 3951; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223951 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1041
Abstract
This study investigated the accumulation of total phosphorus (TP) and heavy metals (HMs; Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, and Ni) in citrus orchard soils in Jeju Island, Korea, identifying potential soil pollution sources using statistical analysis. Anthropogenic HM pollution was evaluated using the [...] Read more.
This study investigated the accumulation of total phosphorus (TP) and heavy metals (HMs; Pb, Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, and Ni) in citrus orchard soils in Jeju Island, Korea, identifying potential soil pollution sources using statistical analysis. Anthropogenic HM pollution was evaluated using the geoaccumulation index and enrichment factors, whereas HM bioavailability was assessed via single extraction. TP, Zn, Cu, and Cr concentrations in citrus orchard topsoil were significantly higher than those in forestland soils, indicating their accumulation in the surface layer. Statistical analyses confirmed that elements with high concentrations were closely related to potential pollution sources accumulated on the surface layer of citrus orchards owing to agricultural activities. Particularly, Zn and Cu accumulation was confirmed to originate from intensive compost and pesticide use in citrus orchards. Cu showed the highest contamination and enrichment of all HMs. However, Zn and Cu fractions, determined via an availability assessment, were dominated by acid or complex compounds, indicating that labile Zn and Cu have potential bioavailability for plants. Nevertheless, their fractions accounted for a small proportion (mean < 15%). Therefore, despite the high pollution levels of Zn and Cu, their availabilities were extremely low, indicating a negligible bioavailability in crops and no impact on aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds)
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23 pages, 3134 KiB  
Article
Environmental Monitoring and Risk Assessment of Pharmaceutical Residues Discharged from Large Livestock Complex in the Geum River Basin, South Korea
by Hyeri Lee, Minhee Chae and Seokwon Lee
Water 2023, 15(22), 3913; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223913 - 09 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 896
Abstract
This study aims to collect water samples from two tributaries within the Geum River basin in South Korea, where large-scale livestock complexes are located, to quantify the measured environmental concentration (MEC) of pharmaceutical residues using a multiresidue analytical method developed with liquid chromatography–tandem [...] Read more.
This study aims to collect water samples from two tributaries within the Geum River basin in South Korea, where large-scale livestock complexes are located, to quantify the measured environmental concentration (MEC) of pharmaceutical residues using a multiresidue analytical method developed with liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), and to evaluate the environmental risks posed by the detected pharmaceuticals to aquatic organisms. The water samples were collected at a total of 17 points, including up-, middle-, and downstream of the Seoksong and Nonsan-Gangkyoung streams connected to the Geum River, from October 2018 to March 2019. A multiresidue analytical method using LC-MS/MS was developed to quantify 49 pharmaceuticals with hydrophilic lipophilic balance using solid phase extraction. The recovery rates varied between 67.23% and 136.98%, while the limits of quantification were from 3.99 to 46.32 ng/L. Ecotoxicological information on acute and chronic effect endpoints (e.g., EC50, NOEC, etc.) was obtained from the U.S. EPA ECOTOX Knowledgebase. Considering the worst-case scenario, the lowest observed effect endpoint (mainly NOEC) of the most sensitive species was selected, and predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) values were calculated by dividing the endpoint by an assessment factor (AF). The mean, minimum, and maximum MECs of pharmaceuticals were divided by PNECs to calculate risk quotient (RQ). Caffeine was detected in all sampling sites with a detection frequency of 100%. High levels of pharmaceuticals (9.212 μg/L of sulfathiazole, 8.479 μg/L of acetaminophen, and 5.885 μg/L of florfenicol) were detected. The RQ values exceeded 1 and reached up to 84.79 (high risk category) for acetaminophen, and were between 0.11 and 0.83 (moderate risk) for carbamazepine, etc. The RQs for the rest of the 15 substances were below 1 (low risk). In the future, further studies should be conducted to monitor other micropollutants, including industrial chemicals, pesticides, etc., at different locations of the Geum River basin, including livestock farms, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and other facilities, for long-term period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transport of Pollutants in Agricultural Watersheds)
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