TitleNitrous Oxide in Fresh Water Systems: An Estimate for the Yield of Atmospheric N2O Associated with Disposal of Human Waste
AuthorsKaplan W. A., Elkins J. W., Kolb C. E., McElroy M. B., Wofsy S. C., DurĂ¡n A. P.
PublicationPure and Applied Geophysics. 1978 Jan; 116(2):423-438.
AbstractThe N2O content of waters in the Potomac and Merrimack Rivers was measured on a number of occasions over the period April to July 1977. The concentrations of dissolved N2O exceed those which would apply in equilibrium with air by factors ranging from about 46 in the Potomac to 1.2 in the Merrimack. Highest concentrations of dissolved N2O were associated with sewage discharges from the vicinity of Washington, D.C. and analysis indicates a relatively high yield, 1.3 to 11 percent, for prompt conversion of waste nitrogen to N2O. The yield could be even higher if bubbles originating in sediments should contain as little as 0.3 percent N2O. Measurements of dissolved N2O in fresh water ponds near Boston demonstrate that aquatic systems may provide both strong sources and sinks for atmospheric N2O.