Tracing N-Nutrient and Organic Carbon Sources in Surface Water of Nhue River Sub-Catchment in Vietnam Using Stable Isotope Fingerprinting and Related Techniques

Abstract

Concentrations of NH4+, NO3, PO43−, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, F, Cl, and SO42− and the isotopic compositions (δ2H and δ18O) in surface water within a sub-catchment of the Nhue River in Hanoi city (Vietnam) were quantified. Based on the concentrations of the constituents, sources of N- and P-nutrients released into the aquatic environment of the region were grouped by their relationships. Additionally, the sources of nutrients in the environment were discussed based on the isotopic signatures of nitrogen in ammonium and nitrate (δ15 N-NH4 and δ15 N-NO3) as well as oxygen in nitrate (δ18O-NO3). The sources of organic carbon in the aquatic environment were discussed using the elemental C to N ratios in organic matter in the surface sediment. Our results showed that the concentrations of ammonium were 25 times and phosphate 3 times higher than the National Standard for quality of surface water that was set up by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam, but nitrate concentration in water was about 400 times lower than the Standard. The δ18O-NO3 to δ15 N-NO3 ratio was found to be 1.38 and [NO3] negatively correlated (R =  − 0.81) with [SO42−] suggesting that denitrification was the reason for the nitrate in surface water of the region to be very low. The results of the study suggest that the sources of nutrients in aquatic environment of the region were from the domestic water waste and influx from inorganic N-P-K fertilizers, but the former source seems to be more important than the latter. The C:N ratio in the organic matter present in surface sediment indicates that domestic water waste was the main source of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the water of the region. The brown water waste contributed up to 30% of the stream in the region as estimated by the two-end-member mixing model based on the oxygen 18 signatures of the brown and irrigation water. It is recommended that the Government invests material and financial resources to construct centralized facilities to treat brown water waste to reduce eutrophication in canals of the inner Hanoi city because of intensive urbanizing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

source of ammonium in the aquatic environment is from domestic water waste and denitrification process is ongoing which reduces concentration of nitrate in water

References

  1. Dorgham, M. (2014). Effects of eutrophication. In: “Eutrophication: Causes, Consequenses and Control” A.A. Ansari and S.S. Gill (Eds), Vol.II, Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7814-6

  2. Doan, Ella. Agriculture in Vietnam-Statistics and Facts (Apr 24, 2020) https://www.statista.com/topics/5653/agriculture-in-vietnam. Accessed Nov 10, 2020

  3. Coble, A. A., Marcarelli, A. M., & Kane, E. S. (2015). Ammonium and glucose amendments stimulate dissolved organic matter mineralization in a Lake Superior tributary. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 41, 801–807.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. EPA method No. 351.2. (1993). Determination of total Kjeldahl nitrogen by semi-automated colorimetry, revision 2 (p. 45268). Cincinnati: US Environmental Protection Agency.

    Google Scholar 

  5. EPA method No.415.3, 2005. Determination of total organic carbon and specific UV absorbance at 254 nm in source water and drinking water. EPA Document #: EPA/600/R-05/055, US Environmental Protection Agency, 45268

  6. FAO and IWMI, 2017. Water pollution from agriculture: A global review. Control of water pollution from agriculture, pp 29 http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7754e.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov, 2020

  7. Fogg, G. E., Rolston, D. E., & Decker, D. L. (1998). Spatial variation in nitrogen isotope values beneath nitrate contamination sources. Groundwater, 36, 418–426.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Frey, D. G. (1969). Evidence for eutrophication from remains of organisms in sediments. In: Eutrophication, causes, consequences, correctives. National Academy of Sciences, 1970, 594–613. https://doi.org/10.17226/20256

  9. Gao, L., Li, D., & Yanwei, Z. (2012). Nutrients and particulate organic matter discharged by the Changjiang (Yangtze River): Seasonal variations and temporal trends. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, G04001. https://doi.org/10.1029/2012JG001952

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Ha, P. Q., McLaughlin, M., Oborn, I. (2017). Nutrient recycling for sustainable agriculture in Viet Nam (Paper No.12: Country Report of Soil and Fertilizers Research Institute), Hanoi, Vietnam. http://www.fao.org/3/AG120E19.htm. Accessed 15 Oct 2020.

  11. Hanh, P. T. M., Suthipong, S., Kim, K. W., Dang, T. B., & Nguyen, Q. H. (2009). Anthropogenic influence on surface water quality of the Nhue and Day sub-river systems in Vietnam. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 32, 227–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hedges, J. I., Clark, W. A., Quay, P. D., Richey, J. E., Devol, A. H., & de Santos, U. M. (1986). Composition and fluxes of particulate organic material in the Amazon River. Limnology and Oceanography, 31, 717–738.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Huon, S., Grousset, F. E., Burdloff, D., Bardoux, G., & Mariotti, A. (2002). Sources of fine-sized OM in North Atlantic Heinrich layers: δ13C and δ15N tracers. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 66, 223–239.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Janfang, J., Yingxu, C., Feier, W., & Ogura, N. (2004). Detection nitrate sources in urban groundwater by isotopic and chemical indicators, Hangzhou City China. Environmental Geology, 45, 1017–1024.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Kabbashi, N. (2011). Sewage sludge composting simulation as carbon/nitrogen concentration change. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 23, 1925–1928.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kendall, C., Elliott, E. M., & Wankel, S. D. (2007). Tracing anthropogenic inputs of nitrogen to ecosystems. In R. Michener & K. Lajtha (Eds.), Stable Isotopes in Ecology and Environmental Science (pp. 375–449). Blackwell Publishing.

  17. Khatri, N., & Tyagi, S. (2015). Influences of natural and anthropogenic factors on surface and groundwater quality in rural and urban areas. Frontiers in Life Science, 8, 23–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/21553769.2014.933716

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kritzberg, S. M., Hasselquist, M. E., Škerlep, M., Löfgren, S., Olsson, O., Stadmark, J., Valinia, S., Hansson, L.-A., & Laudon, H. (2020). Browning of freshwaters: Consequences to ecosystem services, underlying drivers, and potential mitigation measures. Ambio, 49, 375–390. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01227-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Laurion, I., Vincent, W. F., & Lean, D. R. S. (1997). Underwater ultraviolet radiation: Development of spectral models for northern high latitude lakes. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 65, 107–114.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Li, C., Wu, S., & Dong, R. (2015). Dynamics of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus removal and their interactions in a tidal operated constructed wetland. Journal of Environmental Management, 151, 310–316.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Li, H., Song, C., Cao, X. Y., & Zhou, Y. Y. (2016). The phosphorus release pathways and their mechanisms driven by organic carbon and nitrogen in sediments of eutrophic shallow lakes. Science of the Total Environment, 572, 280–288.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Luu, T. N., Minh, Do., Nga, T., Ioannis, M., Panizzo, V. N., & Trinh, A. D. (2020). Stable isotopes as an effective tool for N nutrient source identification in a heavily urbanized and agriculturally intensive tropical lowland basin. Biogeochemistry, 149, 17–35.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Mbabazi, J., Inoue, T., Yokota, K., Saga, M. (2019). Variability of particulate bioavailable phosphorus, particulate organic carbon and nitrogen in agricultural and urban rivers. Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. 7, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2019.103086

  24. McKnight D. M., Harnish R., Wershaw R. L., Baron J. S. & Schiff S. (1997). Chemical characteristics of particulate, colloidal and dissolved organic material in Loch Vale Watershed, Rocky Mountain National Park. Biogeochemistry, 36, 99–124.

  25. Meyers, P. A. (1994). Preservation of elemental and isotopic source identification of sedimentary organic matter. Chemical Geology, 114, 289–302.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Nhan, D.D., Lieu, D.B., Minh, D.A., Anh, V.T. (2013). Isotopic composition of precipitations over Hanoi city (Vietnam) region: Data of the GNIP Hanoi. http://www.iaea/gnip. Accessed 15 Dec 2020

  27. O’Brien, M. D., & Wooller, M. J. (2007). Tracking human travel using stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes analyses of hair and urine. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 21, 2422–2430.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Plecher, H., Urbanization in Vietnam (Jul 15, 2020). https://www.statista.com/statistics/444882/urbanization-in-vietnam. Accessed 13 Oct 2020

  29. Prahl, F. G., Ertel, J. R., Goni, M. A., Sparrow, M. A., & Eversmeyer, B. (1994). Terrestrial organic carbon contributions to sediments on the Washington margin. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 58, 3035–3048.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. QCVN 08-MT: 2015/BTNMT. National technical regulation on surface water quality. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam, Hanoi

  31. Ramaswamy, V., Gaye, B., Shirodkar, P. V., Chivas, A. R., Wheeler, D., & Thwin, S. (2008). Distribution and sources of organic carbon, nitrogen and their isotopic signatures in sediments from the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) continental shelf, northern Andaman Sea. Marine Chemistry, 111, 137–150.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Robertson, W. D., Russel, B. M., & Cherry, J. A. (1996). Attenuation of nitrate in aquitard sediments of southern Ontario. Journal of Hydrology, 180, 267–281.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Sabilo, M., Mayer, B., Grably, M., Billiou, D., & Mariotti, D. (2004). The use of the ‘ammonium diffusion’ method for δ15N-NH4+ and δ15N-NO3 measurements: Comparison with other techniques. Environmental Chemistry, 1, 99–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Silva, S. R., Kendall, C., Wilkison, D. H., Chang, C. C. Y. C., & Avanzino, R. J. (2000). A new method for collection of nitrate from fresh water and the analysis of nitrogen and oxygen isotope ratios. Journal of Hydrology, 228, 22–36.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Struck, U., Emeis, K.-C., Vossa, M., Christiansen, C., & Kunzendorf, H. (2000). Records of southern and central Baltic Sea eutrophication in δ13C and δ15N of sedimentary organic matter. Marine Chemistry, 164, 157–171.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. Tesoriero, A. J., Liebscher, H., & Cox, S. E. (2000). Mechanism and rate of denitrification in an agricultural watershed: Electron and mass balance along groundwater flow paths. Water Resources Research, 36, 1545–1559.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Trinh, A. D., Georges, V., Marie, P. B., Nicolas, P., Vu, D. L., & Le, L. A. (2007). Experimental investigation and modelling approach of the impact of urban water waste on a tropical river: A case study of the Nhue River, Hanoi, Viet Nam. Journal of Hydrology, 334, 347–358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Williams, A. E., Lund, J. L., Johnson, J. A., & Kabala, Z. J. (1998). Natural and anthropogenic nitrate contamination of groundwater in a rural community California. Environmental Science & Technology, 32, 32–39.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Wright, A. L., Wang, Y., & Reddy, K. R. (2008). Loss-on-Ignition method to assess soil organic carbon in Calcareous Everglades Wetlands. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 39, 3074–3083.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Wu, F. C., Wang, L. Y., Li, W., Zhang, R. Y., Fu, P. Q., Liao, H. Q., Bai, Y. C., Guo, J. Y., & Wang, J. (2008). Natural organic matter and its significance in terrestrial surface environment. Journal of Lake Science, 20, 1–12.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Wu, Y., Zhang, J., Liu, S. M., Zhang, Z. F., Yao, Q. Z., Hong, G. H., & Cooper, L. (2007). Sources and distribution of carbon within the Yangtze River system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 71, 13–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Yu, F., Yongqiang, Z., Lloyd, J. M., Guangqing, H., Leng, M. J., Kendrick, C., Lamb, A. L., & Yim, W.W.-S. (2010). Bulk organic δ13C and C/N as indicators for sediment sources in the Pearl River delta and estuary, Southern China. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 87, 618–630.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zhang, J., Wu, Y., Ittekkot-Jennerjahn, V., & He, Q. (2007). Distribution of organic matter in the Changjiang (Yangtze River) estuary and their stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios: Implications for source discrimination and sedimentary dynamics. Marine Chemistry, 106, 111–126.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and review of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was conducted partly with financial support from IAEA based in Vienna, Austria, under the Research Contract No. 22773 within the Coordinated Research Project D1.50.18, entitled “Multiple isotope fingerprints to identify sources and transport of agro-contaminants.”

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dang Duc Nhan.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nhan, D.D., Tuoi, N.T., Anh, H.L. et al. Tracing N-Nutrient and Organic Carbon Sources in Surface Water of Nhue River Sub-Catchment in Vietnam Using Stable Isotope Fingerprinting and Related Techniques. Water Air Soil Pollut 232, 243 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-021-05181-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Nutrients
  • Aquatic environment
  • Isotopic composition
  • Brown water waste
  • Inorganic fertilizer
  • Nhue River sub-catchment
  • Vietnam