Lake and Reservoir Fate and Transport of Chemicals

  • Heinz G. StefanEmail author
  • Xing Fang
  • John S. Gulliver


“Eutrophication” is originally used to describe aging process whereby a lake is transformed from a lake to a marsh to a meadow (fill the lake with sediments). “Cultural eutrophication” occurs when the lake aging process is quickened or accelerated by excess nutrients from human activities [1]. Understanding of the fate and transport of water quality constituents in lakes and reservoirs is essential to sustaining water quality and fish habitat in these inland waters. Constituent is used generically and does not necessarily mean a polluting substance, e.g., dissolved oxygen (DO) is a relatively benign variable. The fate of a constitute typically depends on its transport (movement) through an inland water system (lake or reservoir) and on sources, sinks, chemical and biological reactions, and other decay mechanisms (e.g., settling). When sediment input is more than sediment outflow or nutrients are more than demands of aquatic plants, a lake or reservoir becomes not sustainable and the aging process of a lake is accelerated. The study of fate and transport of a substance in a lake or reservoir is to qualitatively and quantitatively account for mass balance of the substance through boundaries of and within the waterbody. Using the principle of the conservation of mass to investigate mass balance is not a new topic, but closely examining mass balance of various water quality constituents in inland waters was only started a few decades ago, and sustainability of aquatic systems is a relative new topic to researchers, water resources managers, and the public. Due to waterborne pathogens as one of the prime causes of disease, civil engineers began to plan, design, and construct urban water and wastewater systems in the late nineteenth century, and then the water quality management processes or models from streams to lakes and reservoirs emerged. In the United States (U.S.), Rivers and Harbors Act in 1899 to Federal Water Pollution Control Act in 1972 (subsequently amended and called the Act Clean Water Act) promoted studies on water quality in receiving waters. Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well-being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. Sustainability in lakes and reservoirs involves how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time and how designated uses (e.g., water supply, recreation, fish and wildlife, etc.) endure over time. Lake and reservoir fate and transport involve understanding and maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems and environments that provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms.


Dissolve Oxygen Biochemical Oxygen Demand Secchi Depth Fish Habitat Water Quality Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Dimictic lake

A lake that has two complete mixing (circulation) periods per year (one in spring after the ice melts and another in fall before the ice forms).

Hyporheic flow

Flow in a region beneath and along a stream bed. It is characterized as mixing of shallow groundwater and surface water which is important to sedimentary oxygen uptake.


“Stagnant” waterbody as opposed to “flowing”.


Science or the study of inland waters, e.g., lakes and reservoirs.

Oxythermal parameter

Variable to define fish habitat in inland waters using dissolved oxygen (DO) and water temperature limits, e.g., TDO3 – temperature at DO = 3 mg/L.


Tiny subdivisions of solid matter suspended in a gas or liquid, also known as particulate matter (PM) or fine particles.

Residence time

The mean amount of time that water or a substance would stay or “reside” in a lake or reservoir. Hydraulic residence time is equal to lake volume divided by outflow rate. The residence time of a substance is equal to the quantity of a substance in volume divided by the change of a substance in volume over time through various lake’s removal mechanisms (outflow or flushing, settling, and chemical and biological reactions).


The process or tendency for particles in suspension to settle out of the fluid in which they are entrained and come to rest against a barrier (e.g., lake or river bed).


Material dissolved in water of a lake.


The formation of horizontal layers (strata) in which water temperature and concentration of substances are different along depth of a lake and reservoir.


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Books and Reviews

  1. Eaton JG, McCormick JH, Stefan HG, Hondzo M (1995) Extreme-value analysis of a fish temperature-field database. Ecol Eng 4(4):289–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ellis CR, Stefan HG (1989) Oxygen demand in ice covered lakes as it pertains to winter aeration. J Am Water Resour Assoc 25(6):1169–1176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ellis CR, Stefan HG (1991) Field testing of an ice-preserving winter lake aeration system. J Am Water Resour Assoc 27(6):903–914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ellis CR, Stefan HG, Gu R (1991) Water temperature dynamics and heat-transfer beneath the ice cover of a lake. Limnol Oceanogr 36(2):324–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fang X, Stefan HG (1995) Interaction between oxygen transfer mechanisms in lake models. J Environ Eng 121(6):447–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fang X, Stefan HG (1996) Long-term lake water temperature and ice cover simulations/measurements. Cold Reg Sci Technol 24(3):289–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fang X, Stefan HG (1997) Simulated climate change effects on dissolved oxygen characteristics in ice-covered lakes. Ecol Model 103(2–3):209–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fang X, Stefan HG (1998) Potential climate warming effects on ice covers of small lakes in the contiguous U.S. Cold Reg Sci Technol 27(2):119–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fang X, Stefan HG (1999) Projections of climate change effects on water temperature characteristics of small lakes in the contiguous US. Clim Change 42(2):377–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gao S, Stefan HG (1999) Multiple linear regression for lake ice and lake temperature characteristics. J Cold Reg Eng 13(2):59–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gao S, Stefan HG (2004) Potential climate change effects on ice covers of five freshwater lakes. J Hydrol Eng 9(3):226–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gu R, Stefan HG (1993) Validation of cold climate lake temperature simulation. Cold Reg Sci Technol 22(1):99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gu R, Luck FN, Stefan HG (1996) Water quality stratification in shallow wastewater stabilization ponds. J Am Water Resour Assoc 32(4):831–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Henneman HE, Stefan HG (1998) Snow and ice albedo measured with two types of pyranometers. J Am Water Resour Assoc 34(6):1487–1494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Henneman HE, Stefan HG (1999) Albedo models for snow and ice on a freshwater lake. Cold Reg Sci Technol 29(1):31–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Herb WR, Stefan HG (2004) Temperature stratification and mixing dynamics in a shallow lake with submersed macrophytes. Lake Reserv Manag 20(4):296–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Herb WR, Stefan HG (2005) Dynamics of vertical mixing in a shallow lake with submersed macrophytes. Water Resour Res 41(2):W02023, doi: 10.1029/2003wr002613
  18. Herb WR, Stefan HG (2006) Seasonal growth of submersed macrophytes in lakes: the effects of biomass density and light competition. Ecol Model 193(3–4):560–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hondzo M, Stefan H (1991) Three case studies of lake temperature and stratification response to warmer climate. Water Resour Res 27(8):1837–1846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hondzo M, Stefan HG (1993) Regional water temperature characteristics of lakes subjected to climate change. Clim Change 24:187–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hondzo M, Stefan HG (1996) Long-term lake water quality predictors. Water Res 30(12):2835–2852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hondzo M, Stefan HG (1996) Dependence of water quality and fish habitat on lake morphometry and meteorology. J Water Resour Plan Manag 122(5):364–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hondzo M, Ellis CR, Stefan HG (1991) Vertical diffusion in small stratified lake: data and error analysis. J Hydraul Eng 117(10):1352–1369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Horsch GM, Stefan HG (1988) Convective circulation in littoral water due to surface cooling. Limnol Oceanogr 33(5):1068–1083CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnson SL, Stefan HG (2006) Indicators of climate warming in Minnesota: Lake ICE covers and snowmelt runoff. Clim Change 75(4):421–453. doi: 10.1007/s10584-006-0356-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Manous JJD, Stefan HG (2003) Projected sulfate redistribution as impacted by lake level stabilization scenarios: devils lake, North Dakota. J Water Resour Plan Manag 129(5):399–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rasmussen AH, Hondzo M, Stefan HG (1995) A test of several evaporation equations for water temperature simulations in lakes. J Am Water Resour Assoc 31(6):1023–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stefan HG, Fang X (1993) Model simulations of dissolved oxygen characteristics of Minnesota lakes: past and future. Environ Manag 18(1):73–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stefan HG, Fang X (1997) Simulated climate change effects on ice and snow covers on lakes in a temperate region. Cold Reg Sci Technol 25(2):137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stefan HG, Fang X, Hondzo M (1998) Simulated climate changes effects on year-round water temperatures in temperate zone lakes. Clim Change 40:547–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stefan HG, Fang X, David W, Eaton JG, McCormick JH (1995) Simulation of dissolved oxygen profiles in a transparent, dimictic lake. Limnol Oceanogr 40(1):105–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stefan HG, Hondzo M, Fang X (1993) Lake water quality modeling for projected future climate scenarios. J Environ Qual 22(3):417–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Stefan HG, Horsch GM, Barko JW (1989) A model for the estimation of convective exchange in the littoral region of a shallow lake during cooling. Hydrobiologia 174(3):225–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stefan H, Cardoni J, Schiebe F, Cooper C (1983) Model of light penetration in a turbid lake. Water Resour Res 19(1):109–120. doi: 10.1029/WR019i001p00109 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stefanovic DL, Stefan HG (2002) Two-dimensional temperature and dissolved oxygen dynamics in the littoral region of an ice-covered lake. Cold Reg Sci Technol 34(3):159–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Williams G, Layman KL, Stefan HG (2004) Dependence of lake ice covers on climatic, geographic and bathymetric variables. Cold Reg Sci Technol 40(3):145–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Williams SG, Stefan HG (2006) Modeling of lake ice characteristics in North America using climate, geography, and lake bathymetry. J Cold Reg Eng 20(4):140–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinz G. Stefan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xing Fang
    • 2
  • John S. Gulliver
    • 3
  1. 1.St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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