Ten- to 15-year water-quality records from a network of headwater sampling stations show small declines in stream sulfate concentrations at stations in the northeastern quarter of the Nation and small increases in sulfate at most southeastern and western sites. The regional pattern of stream sulfate trends is similar to that reported for trends in S02 emissions to the atmosphere during the same period. Trends in the ratio of alkalinity to total major cation concentrations at the stations follow an inverse pattern of small increases in the Northeast and small, but widespread decreases elsewhere. The undeveloped nature of the sampled basins and the magnitude and direction of observed changes in relation to SO2 emissions support the hypothesis that the observed patterns in water quality trends reflect regional changes in the rates of acid deposition.
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USGS Numbered Series
Evidence for acid-precipitation-induced trends in stream chemistry at hydrologic bench-mark stations