Role of the bottom sediments immediately beneath the lake water-groundwater interface in the transport and removal of cyanobacteria, cyanophage, and dissolved organic carbon during natural lake-bank filtration at a kettle pond subject to harmful algal blooms

Monday, 14 December 2015: 16:15
3016 (Moscone West)
Ronald W Harvey1, David W Metge1, Denis R LeBlanc2, Jennifer C Underwood1, George Aiken1, Timothy D McCobb2 and Jay Jasperse3, (1)USGS, National Research Program, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)USGS, MA Water Science Center, Northborough, MA, United States, (3)Sonoma County Water, Santa Rosa, CA, United States
Bank filtration has proven to be a sustainable, cost-effective method of removing cyanobacteria and their harmful toxins from surface water during filtration through bottom and aquifer sediments. The biologically active layer of sediments immediately beneath the sediment–water interface (colmation layer) is believed to be particularly important in this process. An in situ experiment was conducted that involved assessing the transport behaviors of bromide (conservative tracer), Synechococcus sp. IU625 (cyanobacterium, 2.6 ± 0.2 µm), AS-1 (tailed cyanophages, 110 nm long), MS2 (coliphages, 26 nm diameter), and carboxylate-modified microspheres (1.7 µm diameter) introduced to the colmation layer using a bag-and-barrel (Lee-type) seepage meter. The constituents were monitored as they advected through the colmation layer and underlying aquifer sediments at Ashumet Pond in Cape Cod, MA, a mesotrophic kettle pond that recharges a portion of a sole-source, drinking water aquifer. Because the pond DOC includes the various cyanotoxins produced during harmful algal bloom senescence, the DOC and aforementioned colloids were tracked concomitantly. The tracer test constituents were monitored as they advected across the pond water–groundwater interface and through the underlying aquifer sediments under natural-gradient conditions past push-points samplers placed at ~30-cm intervals along a 1.2-m-long, diagonally downward flow path. More than 99% of the microspheres, IU625, MS2, AS-1, and ~42% of the pond DOC were removed in the colmation layer (upper 25 cm of poorly sorted bottom sediments) at two test locations characterized by dissimilar seepage rates (1.7 vs. 0.26 m d-1). Retention profiles in recovered core material indicated that >82% of the attached IU625 were in the top 3 cm of bottom sediments. The colmation layer was also responsible for rapid changes in the character of the DOC and was more effective (by 3 orders of magnitude) at removing microspheres than was the underlying 30-cm-long segment of sediment. A follow-up study conducted the following year at the same location demonstrated that removal of the top 5 cm of sediment resulted in a six-fold decrease in the efficiency of the near-surface bottom sediments for filtering out Synechococcus, cyanophage, and well-characterized microspheres.