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  • Ascott et al (2018) ES&T Just Accepted version

    Rights statement: This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Environmental Science and Technology, copyright ©2018 American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b03204

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.04 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Public water supply is responsible for significant fluxes of inorganic nitrogen in the environment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
Volume52
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)14050–14060
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/10/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Understanding anthropogenic disturbance of macronutrient cycles is essential for assessing risks facing ecosystems. For the first time, we quantified inorganic nitrogen (N) fluxes associated with abstraction, mains water leakage and transfers of treated water related to public water supply. In England, the mass of nitrate-N removed from aquatic environments by abstraction (ABS-NO3-N) was estimated to be 24.2 kt N/yr. This is equal to six times estimates of organic N removal by abstraction, 15 times in-channel storage of organic N and 30 times floodplain storage of organic N. ABS-NO3-N is also between 3-39% of N removal by denitrification in the hydrosphere. Mains water leakage of nitrate-N (MWL-NO3-N) returns 3.62 kt N/yr to the environment, equating to approximately 15% of ABS-NO3-N . In urban areas, MWL-NO3-N can represent up to 20% of total N inputs. MWL-NO3-N is predicted to increase by up to 66% by 2020 following implementation of treated water transfers. ABS-NO3-N and MWL-NO3-N should be considered in future assessments of N fluxes, in order to accurately quantify anthropogenic disturbances to N cycles. The methodology we developed is transferable, using widely-available datasets and could be used to quantify N fluxes associated with public water supply across the world.

Bibliographic note

This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Environmental Science and Technology, copyright ©2018 American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.8b03204