Modelling changes in nitrogen emissions into the Oder River System 1875–1944
Studies of nutrient emissions into surface waters are usually only performed for years in recent decades. However, estimating nutrient emissions for the more distant past enables us to identify the main factors responsible for the increasing nutrient contamination since the end of the nineteenth century. We focussed on the Oder River System for 1875–1944, divided into 10-year periods. Nutrient emissions into surface waters were calculated with the model MONERIS (MOdelling Nutrient Emissions in RIver Systems). For seven different pathways and eight sources, the total nitrogen (TN) emissions were quantified. The TN-emissions into the surface waters for 1880 amounted to 25,300 t year-1, and by 1940, this value had almost doubled to 46,600 t year-1. In 1880, 57% of TNemissions into the surface waters derived from urban systems, due to the high amount of untreated waste water. In 1940, only 34% of TN-emissions into surface waters derived from urban systems, despite a population growth of about 27% since 1880; point sources via newly constructed waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) increased from 4% (1880) to 26% (1940). During the study period, the main changes in diffuse TN-emissions from agriculture were caused by inorganic fertilizer application and nitrogen deposition, while TN-emissions via urban sources were shifted to point sources due to population growth and the construction of new WWTPs. Furthermore, estimated TN-concentrations could make a contribution to construct benchmarks for nutrient concentrations according to the physiochemical properties to implement the European Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000).
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