Water quality of streams tributary to Lakes Superior and Michigan was analyzed for 142 stations on 99 streams tributary to Lake Superior and 83 stations on 56 streams tributary to Lake Michigan during 1962-65. Concentrations of aluminum, copper, and iron were not affected greatly by flow or season. Magnesium, calcium, chlorides, total alkalinity, total hardness, and conductivity varied with the flow, temperature, and season; the lowest values were during the spring runoff and heavy rains, and the highest were during low water in late summer and the colder periods of winter. Concentrations of nitrate, silica, and sulfates were lowest in the spring and summer. Concentrations of tanninlike and ligninlike compounds were highest during the spring runoff and other high-water periods, and were lowest during freezeup when surface runoff was minimal. The pH values were highest from June to September and lowest during the spring runoff. Phenolphthalein alkalinity was detected primarily in the summer and coincided occasionally with low flows just before the spring thaw. Total hardness usually was lower in streams tributary to Lake Superior than in streams tributary to Lake Michigan. The total hardness was higher in the streams in Wisconsin than in the streams in Michigan along the west shore of Lake Michigan. It was lowest in the northernmost streams. The water quality of the streams in an area was related to the geological characteristics of the land.
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Federal Government Series
Water quality of streams tributary to Lakes Superior and Michigan