Optical properties of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) levels in constructed water treatment wetland systems in southern California, USA
Clark, C.D.; De Bruyn, W.J.; Brahm, B.; Aiona, P.
Chemosphere 247: 125906
ISSN/ISBN: 1879-1298 PMID: 32069714 DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.125906
Many removal mechanisms in treatment wetlands involve absorption to organic matter. Optical properties and DOC levels of waters entering and exiting 4 treatment wetland systems in Orange County, Southern California, were measured to characterize the dissolved organic matter pool. Average DOC levels decreased between the inlets and outlets, except for Forge Street (FS), which increased. For 3 wetlands, absorption coefficients decreased between inlet and outlet; the exception was FS, which increased. Average spectral slopes for the inlets and outlets were similar. Average intensities of terrestrial humic peaks A and C from 3D EEM fluorescence spectra decreased between the inlets and outlets for most wetlands. No EEM protein peaks were observed. Average flu/abs ratios for inlets and outlets were similar (high point for FS inlet excluded), suggesting chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) of a similar composition was present. The average FI value for the inlets and outlets was ∼1.5, consistent with terrestrial sources of CDOM. Average BIX values for the inlets and outlets were ∼0.8, suggesting limited contributions from autochthonous production of CDOM. Dominant plant species in the wetlands were cattail and bulrush. Humic peaks A and C, along with protein peaks, were observed in plant leachates. Protein peaks rapidly degraded with solar simulator irradiation. Results indicate that most of the wetlands are a net sink for CDOM, possibly due to absorption to sediments. The FS wetland appears to have a source of non-CDOM optically active organic carbon, possibly from a pollutant.