Partitioning of Total Dissolved Salts, Boron and Selenium in Pariette Wetland Water, Sediments and Benthic Organisms

Monday, 15 December 2014
Astrid R Jacobson, Colleen Patricia Jones, Palak Vasudeva, David Powelson and Paul Grossl, Utah State University, Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Logan, UT, United States
The Pariette Wetlands located in the Uinta Basin, UT, were developed by the BLM in part to mitigate salinity associated with irrigation drainage and runoff from flowing to the Green River, a tributary of the Colorado River. The wetlands are fed by runoff from upstream agricultural irrigation, and natural subsurface and overland flow through the Uintah formation, which is seleniferous, and saline. Concentrations of Total Dissolved Salts (TDS), boron (B) and selenium (Se) in the wetlands exceed the total maximum daily loads developed to meet the US EPA’s water quality planning and management regulations (40CFR 130). This is of concern because the wetlands are home to populations of migratory birds, waterfowl, raptors, and numerous small mammals. A mass balance of the Se concentrations of water flowing into and out of the wetlands indicates that 80% of the Se is stored or lost within the system. Additional data suggest that the majority of the Se is associated with the sediments. Little information is available regarding the TDS and B. Therefore we will determine the whether B and other salts are accumulating in the wetland systems, and if so where. We sampled water, sediment, benthic organisms, and wetland plants, in 4 of the 23 ponds from the flood control inlet to water flowing out to the Green River. Sediments were collected at 3 depths (0-2 cm, 2-7 cm, and 7+ cm) at 3-4 locations within each pond including the inlet, outlet and at least one site near a major wetland plant community. Benthic organisms were sampled from the 0-2 cm and 2-7 cm sediment layers. Sediment and organism samples were digested with HNO3 and HClO4 prior to analysis of total Se by HGAAS. Hot water extractable B and DPTA extractable B were analyzed by ICP-AES. TDS was estimated from EC in the sediment and organisms extracts and direct analysis in the water. Preliminary results found that Se in the sediments decreases with depth. Se concentrations in the benthic organisms is approximately 4 times higher than in the associated sediments. Data from this study will contribute to a water quality risk assessment to the wetland fish and birds.