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The river-quality assessment of the Upper Chattahoochee River Basin included studies of (1) the impact of heat loads on river quality, (2) sediment transport and deposition, (3) magnitude and nature of point and nonpoint discharges, and (4) phytoplankton growth in the river and reservoirs. The combined thermal effects of flow regulation and powerplants effluents resulted in mean daily river temperature downstream of the powerplants about equal to or less than computed natural temperatures. The average annual river temperature in 1976 was 14.0 ? Celsius just upstream of the Atkinson-McDonough thermoelectric powerplants and 16.0 ? Celsius just downstream from the powerplants. During a low-flow period in June 1977 the heat load from the two powerplants caused an increase in river temperatures of about 7 ? Celsius and a subsequent decrease in the dissolved-oxygen concentration of about 0.2 milligrams per liter. During the June low-flow period, point sources contributed 63 percent of the ultimate biochemical oxygen demand and 97 percent of ammonium as nitrogen at the Franklin station. Oxidation of ultimate biochemical demand and ammonium caused dissolved-oxygen concentrations to decrease from about 8.0 milligrams per liter at river mile 299 to about 4.5 milligrams per liter at river mile 271. Dissolved orthophosphate is the nutrient presently limiting phytoplankton growth in the West Point Lake when water temperatures are greater than about 26 ? Celsius.
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Summary of the river-quality assessment of the upper Chattahoochee River basin, Georgia