Water Science and Engineering (Apr 2015)

Relationship between nutrient pollutants and suspended sediments in upper reaches of Yangtze River

  • Xiao-qing Wang,
  • Zhao-cun Liu,
  • Ji-lun Miao,
  • Ning Zuo

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 8, no. 2
pp. 121 – 126


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In order to study the relationship between nutrient pollutants and suspended sediments (SS) in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and two tributaries, water samples were collected from September 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011 at the Zhutuo, Cuntang, Beibei, Wulong, Qingxichang, Wanxian, and Fengjie cross-sections. In the laboratory, the SS concentration and the concentration of SS whose particle size was smaller than 0.02 mm were measured. The phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), and permanganate index (CODMn) concentrations in the natural water sample, the settled water sample, and two types of filtered water samples obtained through filter membranes with pore sizes of 0.02 mm and 0.45 μm were monitored synchronously. The results show that there are strong relationships between the P and CODMn concentrations and the SS concentration. P mainly exists in particulate form, while N mainly exists in dissolved form. SS whose particle size is smaller than 0.02 mm accounts for a high proportion of sediments in the Yangtze River and has a strong effect on water quality. At the seven cross-sections, the amounts of P, N, and CODMn in particulate form in the wet season are higher than in the dry season and the adsorption amounts of P, N, and CODMn per unit mass of sediment are higher in the dry season than in the wet season.