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Freshwater Salinization Syndrome Alters Retention and Release of ‘Chemical Cocktails’ along Flowpaths: from Stormwater Management to Urban StreamsFreshwater salinization syndrome (FSS) refers to the suite of interactive effects of salt ions on degradation of physical, biological,and social systems. Best management practices (BMPs), which are methods to effectively reduce runoff and nonpoint source pollution (stormwater, nutrients, sediments), do not typically consider management of salt pollution. We investigate impacts of FSS on mobilization of salts, nutrients, and metals in urban streams and storm water BMPs by analyzing original data on concentrations and fluxes of salts, nutrients, and metals from 7 urban watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic USA and synthesizing literature data. We also explore future critical research needs through a survey of practitioners and scientists. Our original data show 1) sharp pulses in concentrations of salt ions and metals in urban streams directly following both road salt events and stream restoration construction (e.g.,similar to the way concentrations increase during other soil disturbance activities); 2) sharp declines in pH (acidification) in response to road salt applications because of mobilization of H+ from soil exchange sites by Na+; 3) sharp increases inorganic matter from microbial and algal sources (based on fluorescence spectroscopy) in response to road salt applications, likely because of lysing cells and changes insolubility; 4) substantial retention (~30–40%) of Na+more »Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2023
Factors driving freshwater salinization syndrome (FSS) influence the severity of impacts and chances for recovery. We hypothesize that spread of FSS across ecosystems is a function of interactions among five state factors: human activities, geology, flowpaths, climate, and time. (1) Human activities drive pulsed or chronic inputs of salt ions and mobilization of chemical contaminants. (2) Geology drives rates of erosion, weathering, ion exchange, and acidification-alkalinization. (3) Flowpaths drive salinization and contaminant mobilization along hydrologic cycles. (4) Climate drives rising water temperatures, salt stress, and evaporative concentration of ions and saltwater intrusion. (5) Time influences consequences, thresholds, and potentials for ecosystem recovery. We hypothesize that state factors advance FSS in distinct stages, which eventually contribute to failures in systems-level functions (supporting drinking water, crops, biodiversity, infrastructure, etc.). We present future research directions for protecting freshwaters at risk based on five state factors and stages from diagnosis to prognosis to cure.Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2023