Urea, NH2-CO-NH2, is used as a de-icing agent at Kalmar Airport, southeast Sweden. During 1998-2001, urea contributed on average 30% of the yearly nitrogen (N) transport of 41,000 kg via Törnebybäcken stream to the coastal zone of the Baltic Sea. In order to reduce stream transport of N from airport, agricultural and other diffuse sources, a wetland was constructed in 1996. Annual wetland retention of total-N varied in the range of 2,500-8,100 kg (6-36% of influent) during 1998-2001, according to mass balances calculated from monthly sampling. During airport de-icing, January-March 2001, 660 kg urea-N out of 2,600 kg applied urea-N reached the wetland according to daily sampling. This indicated that 75% of the urea was transformed before entering the wetland. Urea was found to be only a minor part (8%) of total-N in the wetland influent. Calculations of cumulative urea-N loads at the wetland inlet and outlet respectively, showed a significant urea transformation during February 2001 with approximately 40% of the incoming urea-N being transformed in the wetland system. These results show that significant amounts of urea can be transformed in a wetland system at air temperatures around 0°C.

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