CATCHMENT VERY-HIGH FREQUENCY HYDROCHEMISTRY: THE CRITEX CHEMICAL HOUSE
Abstract:Exploring the variations of river quality at very high frequency is still a big challenge that has fundamental implications both for understanding catchment ecosystems and for water quality monitoring. Within the French Critical Zone program CRITEX, we have proposed to develop a prototype called “Chemical House”, applying the “lab on field” concept to one of the stream of the Orgeval Critical Zone Observatory.
The Orgeval catchment (45 km2) is part of the Critical Zone RBV (“Réseau des bassins versants”) network. It is a typical temperate agricultural catchment that has been intensively monitored for the last 50 years for hydrology and nutrient chemistry. Agricultural inputs and land use are also finely monitored making Orgeval an ideal basin to test the response of the Critical Zone to agricultural forcing. Geology consists of a typical sedimentary basin of Cenozoic age with horizontal layers of limestones, silcrete and marls, covered by a thin loamy layer. Two main aquifers are present within the catchment: the Brie and the Champigny aquifers. Mean runoff is 780 mm/yr.
The Chemical House is a fully automated lab and installed directly along the river, which performs measurement of all major dissolved elements such as Na, Cl, Mg, Ca, NO3, SO4 and K every half hour. It also records all physical parameters (Temperature, pH, conductivity, O2 dissolved, Turbidity) of the water every minute. Orgeval Chemical House started to measure river chemistry on June 12, 2015 and has successfully now recorded several months of data. We will present the architecture of the Chemical House and the first reproducibility and accuracy tests made during the summer drought 2015 period. Preliminary results show that the chemical house is recoding significant nychtemeral (day/night) cycles for each element. We also observe that each element has its own behaviour along a day. First results open great prospects.