thumbnail

Trends in lead concentrations in major U.S. rivers and their relation to historical changes in gasoline-lead consumption

Water Resources Bulletin

By:
,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.1988.tb00905.x

Links

Abstract

Declines in concentrations of dissolved lead occurred at nearly two-thirds of 306 locations on major U.S. rivers from 1974 to 1985. Declines in dissolved lead concentrations are statistically significant (p < 0.10) at approximately one-third of the sampling locations. Statistically significant increases in dissolved lead concentrations occurred at only 6 percent of the sites, but are clustered in the Texas-Gulf and Lower Mississippi region. Possible explanations for the observed trends in lead concentrations are tested through comparisons with (1) records of lead discharges from major sources including leaded-gasoline consumption and municipal- and industrial-point source discharges, (2) trends in various water-quality constituents such as pH and total alkalinity, and (3) basin characteristics such as drainage area. Statistically significant declines in lead concentrations in streams and gasoline lead (i.e., the largest source of lead at these sites) are highly coincident for the 1979 to 1980 period at most sampling locations. The greatest amount of decline in gasoline lead occurred at sites showing statistically significant downtrends in stream concentrations of lead from 1974 to 1985. No more than 5 percent of the trends in stream lead are influenced by municipal- and industrial-point sources of lead. Factors that affect the transport of dissolved lead, including lead solubility, suspended sediment, and basin characteristics such as drainage basin size, are not significantly related to trends in dissolved lead. Trends in streamflow explain no more than 7 percent of the downtrends in concentrations of lead and may partly explain the frequent increases in lead concentrations in the Texas-Gulf and Lower Mississippi regions.Declines in concentrations of dissolved lead occurred at nearly two-thirds of 306 locations on major US rivers from 1974 to 1985. Declines in dissolved lead concentrations are statistically significant at approximately one-third of the sampling locations. Statistically significant increases in dissolved lead concentrations occurred at only 6 percent of the sites, but are clustered in the Texas-Gulf and Lower Mississippi regions. Possible explanations for the observed trends in lead concentrations are tested through comparisons with records of lead discharges from major sources including leaded-gasoline consumption and municipal- and industrial-point source discharges, trends in various water-quality constituents such as pH and total alkalinity, and basin characteristics such as drainage area. Study results are discussed.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Trends in lead concentrations in major U.S. rivers and their relation to historical changes in gasoline-lead consumption
Series title:
Water Resources Bulletin
DOI:
10.1111/j.1752-1688.1988.tb00905.x
Volume
24
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1988
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Water Resources Association
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Water Resources Bulletin