Temporal dynamics of biogeochemical processes at the Norman Landfill site Academic Article uri icon


  • The temporal variability observed in redox sensitive species in groundwater can be attributed to coupled hydrological, geochemical, and microbial processes. These controlling processes are typically nonstationary, and distributed across various time scales. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate biogeochemical data sets from a municipal landfill site to identify the dominant modes of variation and determine the physical controls that become significant at different time scales. Data on hydraulic head, specific conductance, 2H, chloride, sulfate, nitrate, and nonvolatile dissolved organic carbon were collected between 1998 and 2000 at three wells at the Norman Landfill site in Norman, OK. Wavelet analysis on this geochemical data set indicates that variations in concentrations of reactive and conservative solutes are strongly coupled to hydrologic variability (water table elevation and precipitation) at 8 month scales, and to individual eco-hydrogeologic framework (such as seasonality of vegetation, surface-groundwater dynamics) at 16 month scales. Apart from hydrologic variations, temporal variability in sulfate concentrations can be associated with different sources (FeS cycling, recharge events) and sinks (uptake by vegetation) depending on the well location and proximity to the leachate plume. Results suggest that nitrate concentrations show multiscale behavior across temporal scales for different well locations, and dominant variability in dissolved organic carbon for a closed municipal landfill can be larger than 2 years due to its decomposition and changing content. A conceptual framework that explains the variability in chemical concentrations at different time scales as a function of hydrologic processes, site-specific interactions, and/or coupled biogeochemical effects is also presented. Key Points Evaluates the temporal features of a geochemical dataset at a closed landfill Links temporal variability to hydrologic perturbations and geologic framework Finds nitrate and carbon to be exceptions to the dominant scales of variation 2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Arora, B., Mohanty, B. P., McGuire, J. T., & Cozzarelli, I. M.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Arora, Bhavna||Mohanty, Binayak P||McGuire, Jennifer T||Cozzarelli, Isabelle M

publication date

  • October 2013