Evaporation mitigation has the potential to significantly improve water use efficiency, with repeat applications of artificial monolayer formulations the most cost-effective strategy for large water storages. Field investigations of the impact of artificial monolayers on water quality have been limited by wind and wave turbulence, and beaching. Two suspended covers differing in permeability to wind and light were used to attenuate wind turbulence, to favour the maintenance of a condensed monolayer at the air/water interface of a 10 m diameter tank. An octadecanol formulation was applied twice-weekly to one of two covered tanks, while a third clean water tank remained uncovered for the 14-week duration of the trial. Microlayer and subsurface water samples were extracted once a week to distinguish impacts associated with the installation of covers, from the impact of prolonged monolayer application. The monolayer was selectively toxic to some phytoplankton, but the toxicity of hydrocarbons leaching from a replacement liner had a greater impact. Monolayer application did not increase water temperature, humified dissolved organic matter, or the biochemical oxygen demand, and did not reduce dissolved oxygen. The impact of an octadecanol monolayer on water quality and the microlayer may not be as detrimental as previously considered.

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