Oxygenation systems, such as bubble-plume diffusers, are used to improve water quality by replenishing dissolved oxygen (DO) in the hypolimnia of water-supply reservoirs. The diffusers induce circulation and mixing, which helps distribute DO throughout the hypolimnion. Mixing, however, has also been observed to increase hypolimnetic oxygen demand (HOD) during system operation, thus accelerating oxygen depletion. Two water-supply reservoirs (Spring Hollow Reservoir (SHR) and Carvins Cove Reservoir (CCR)) that employ linear bubble-plume diffusers were studied to quantify diffuser effects on HOD. A recently validated plume model was used to predict oxygen addition rates. The results were used together with observed oxygen accumulation rates to evaluate HOD over a wide range of applied gas flow rates. Plume-induced mixing correlated well with applied gas flow rate and was observed to increase HOD. Linear relationships between applied gas flow rate and HOD were found for both SHR and CCR. HOD was also observed to be independent of bulk hypolimnion oxygen concentration, indicating that HOD is controlled by induced mixing. Despite transient increases in HOD, oxygenation caused an overall decrease in background HOD, as well as a decrease in induced HOD during diffuser operation, over several years. This suggests that the residual or background oxygen demand decreases from one year to the next. Despite diffuser-induced increases in HOD, hypolimnetic oxygenation remains a viable method for replenishing DO in thermally-stratified water-supply reservoirs such as SHR and CCR.
Gantzer, P. A., Bryant, L., & Little, J. C. (2009). Effect of hypolimnetic oxygenation on oxygen depletion rates in two water-supply reservoirs. Water Research, 43(6), 1700-1710. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2008.12.053