Tracing fine sediment sources in small mountain catchment

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Fine sediment represents an important diffuse source pollutant in surface waters, due to its role in governing the transfer and fate of many substances, including nutrients, heavy metals, pesticides and other organic contaminants, and its influence on aquatic ecology. Therefore, catchment management strategies frequently need to include provision for the control of sediment mobilization and delivery. The sediment tracing concept provides a valuable framework for assisting the management and control of diffuse source sediment pollution by identifying the key sources and demonstrating the importance of intermediate storages and the likely impact of upstream mitigation strategies on downstream sediment and sediment associated contaminant fluxes. In this research, fine sediment sources were identified using tracing method. By field works, sediments were sampled from dam reservoir, different sources were also sampled. Fifteen tracers were first selected for tracing which are: The amounts of N, P, C, Cr, Co, Mg, K, Na, smectite, chlorite, illite, kaolinite, and two magnetic properties consisting of Low Frequency Magnetic Susceptibility (XLF) and Frequency Dependent Magnetic Susceptibility (XFD). The samples were analyzed in the laboratory for these parameters and different statistical methods were applied to the data including Non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis Test and Stepwise Discriminant function analysis. The results provide important information on the relative importance of fine sediment sources to the reservoir sediments, which can be used to support model validation and the targeting of management and control strategies.

Keywords: catchment, Iran, multivariate analysis, natural tracer, tracing

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