The investigation of chemical quality of water in tidal rivers

Open-File Report 54-139




This report has been prepared for the guidance of personnel of the Water Resources Division who are engaged in water-quality investigations of tidal rivers. The study of tidal rivers is beset with many complexities not present in the investigation of non-tidal rivers. The periodic rise and fall of the tide may result in a corresponding periodic change in salinity at a sampling location on the tidal river. When the fresh water discharge is low, saline water may intrude up-river, and any factor changing the relative elevations of the ocean and the mean river level has an effect on the extent of salt-water intrusion. Variations in water composition between samples taken at several locations up or down river, at different depths, or at several locations across the stream are likely to be more pronounced than for similar sets of samples from a non-tidal stream. The nature of these variations and factors responsible for them are discussed, and the need for consideration of them in planning a sampling routine is stressed. The nature and mechanism of ocean-water intrusion in tidal rivers is discussed and sampling procedures for its detection are described. lllustrative examples - mostly from the work of the United States Geological Survey or State agencies - show various methods for correlating and presenting data from quality-of-water surveys of tidal rivers. Each tidal river presents an individual problem which can best be understood from a study of the factors involved. To that end the report is supplemented by an annotated bibliography of selected publications in the field.

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The investigation of chemical quality of water in tidal rivers
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
ii, 54 p.
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