Gas Transfer Measurements on an Ice-Covered River

by G. Macdonald, HydroQual Canada Ltd, Calgary, Canada,
E. R. Holley, HydroQual Canada Ltd, Calgary, Canada,
J. S. Goudey, HydroQual Canada Ltd, Calgary, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Air-Water Mass Transfer


Wasteload allocation for existing and proposed pulp mills in the Athabasca River Basin of northern Alberta, Canada, necessitated measurement of the atmospheric reaeration rate, K2, for winter ice-cover conditions. A short-term tracer-gas injection technique using propane and rhodamine-WT dye was used, with an injection apparatus designed for use through ice. Propane was analyzed with a head-space technique and portable gas chromatograph set-up in a temporary laboratory near the study site to ensure fast and accurate results. The detection limit for propane with this method is 0.02 μg in a one ml gas sample. Laboratory experiments demonstrated no effect of pulp mill effluent on levels of dissolved propane, confirming that measured losses in the field were caused by gas transfer alone. Propane-dye clouds were monitored at two downstream locations, 15 hours time-of-travel apart. No significant change in the amount of dissolved propane was detected over 31.6 river kilometres, indicating a reaeration rate coefficient indistinguishable from zero for this totally ice-covered reach, as expected.

Subject Headings: Ice | Rivers and streams | Ecological restoration | Laboratory tests | Dissolved oxygen | Basins | Winter | Mass transfer | Canada | Alberta

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