Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What role do small dams play in pollution control?

Date:
March 29, 2013
Source:
University of Notre Dame
Summary:
There is a crucial need to gain a better understanding of what small dams mean for our water quality before they crumble and disappear.

Researchers note that there is a crucial need to gain a better understanding of what small dams mean for our water quality before they crumble and disappear.

Sometimes, little things can add up to a lot. In short, that's the message of a research study on small dams, streams and pollution by Steve Powers, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Notre Dame's Environmental Change Initiative (ECI).

"Small dams, reservoirs and ponds trap water pollution, which provides an important benefit to water resources," Powers said. "This is especially relevant in agricultural lands of the Midwest U.S., where there are lots of small, but aging dams."

Although small individually, the sum total of the small reservoirs and ponds have a global surface area comparable to that of all large reservoirs added together.

Powers and his fellow researchers showed in detail how a small aging dam, which was more than 100 years old and located in agricultural Wisconsin, trapped water pollutants associated with fertilizer and manure runoff. They also showed an increase in downstream transport of nutrient pollution after the dam was removed, which occurred because of concerns about the dam's safety.

"Many small dams are threatened by long-term structural decline and are also filling with sediment," Powers said. "If we don't better incorporate how small dams affect the movement of water and wastes through the environment, their benefit to downstream water quality could be lost. Meanwhile, legacy sediment and pollution currently trapped behind dams could release as dams lose their water storage capacity, fall apart, or are removed deliberately."

Powers notes that there is a crucial need to gain a better understanding of what small dams mean for our water quality before they crumble and disappear.

"I am continuing to work on the subject at a broader regional scale by looking at hundreds of stream and river monitoring stations throughout the Midwestern U.S. to detect signals of dams," he said. "One current goal is to try and figure out which regions are most vulnerable to water quality changes caused by accumulation of sediment and phosphorus behind dams."

The research paper appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences.

Powers is conducting his research as part of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative's Land Use Project. The Environmental Change Initiative conducts policy-oriented research designed to help policy-makers manage environmental changes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Notre Dame. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. M. Powers, J. P. Julian, M. W. Doyle, E. H. Stanley. Retention and transport of nutrients in a mature agricultural impoundment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1029/2012JG002148

Cite This Page:

University of Notre Dame. "What role do small dams play in pollution control?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130329090620.htm>.
University of Notre Dame. (2013, March 29). What role do small dams play in pollution control?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130329090620.htm
University of Notre Dame. "What role do small dams play in pollution control?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130329090620.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins