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Characterization of Stormflows and Wastewater Treatment-Plant Effluent Discharges on Water Quality, Suspended Sediment, and Stream Morphology for Fountain and Monument Creek Watersheds, Colorado, 1981-2006

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5104

Prepared in cooperation with Colorado Springs City Engineering
By:
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Abstract

In 1998, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Colorado Springs City Engineering, began a study of the Fountain and Monument Creek watersheds to characterize water quality and suspended-sediment conditions in the watershed for different flow regimes, with an emphasis on characterizing water quality during storm runoff. Water-quality and suspended-sediment samples were collected in the Fountain and Monument Creek watersheds from 1981 through 2006 to evaluate the effects of stormflows and wastewater-treatment effluent on Fountain and Monument Creeks in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area. Water-quality data were collected at 11 sites between 1981 and 2001, and 14 tributary sites were added in 2003 to increase spatial coverage and characterize water quality throughout the watersheds. Suspended-sediment samples collected daily at 7 sites from 1998 through 2001, 6 sites daily from 2003 through 2006, and 13 tributary sites intermittently from 2003 through 2006 were used to evaluate the effects of stormflow on suspended-sediment concentrations, discharges, and yields. Data were separated into three flow regimes: base flow, normal flow, and stormflow. Stormflow concentrations from 1998 through 2006 were compared to Colorado acute instream standards and, with the exception of a few isolated cases, did not exceed water-quality standards for inorganic constituents that were analyzed. However, stormflow concentrations of both fecal coliform and Escherichia coli (E. coli) frequently exceeded water-quality standards during 1998 through 2006 on main-stem and tributary sites by more than an order of magnitude. There were two sites on Cottonwood Creek, a tributary to Monument Creek, with elevated concentrations of dissolved nitrite plus nitrate: site 07103985 (TbCr), a tributary to Cottonwood Creek and site 07103990 (lower_CoCr), downstream from site 07103985 (TbCr), and near the confluence with Monument Creek. During base-flow and normal-flow conditions, the median concentrations of dissolved nitrite plus nitrate ranged from 5.1 to 6.1 mg/L and were 4 to 7 times larger than concentrations at the nearest upstream site on Monument Creek, site 07103970 (MoCr_Woodmen). The source of these larger dissolved nitrite plus nitrate concentrations has not been identified, but the fact that all measurements had elevated dissolved nitrite plus nitrate concentrations indicates a relatively constant source. Most stormflow concentrations of dissolved trace elements were smaller than concentrations from base-flow or normal-flow samples. However, median concentrations of total arsenic, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, and zinc generally were much larger during periods of stormflow than during base flow or normal flow. Concentrations of dissolved and total copper, total manganese, total nickel, dissolved and total selenium, and dissolved and total zinc ranged from 3 to 27 times larger at site 07103707 (FoCr_8th) than site 07103700 (FoCr_Manitou) during base flow, indicating a large source of trace elements between these two sites. Both of these sites are located on Fountain Creek, upstream from the confluence with Monument Creek. The likely source area is Gold Hill Mesa, a former tailings pile for a gold refinery located just upstream from the confluence with Monument Creek, and upstream from site 07103707 (FoCr_8th). Farther downstream in Fountain Creek, stormflow samples for total copper, manganese, lead, nickel, and zinc were larger at the downstream site near the city of Security, site 07105800 (FoCr_Security), than at the upstream site near Janitell Road, site 07105530 (FoCr_Janitell), compared with other main-stem sites and indicated a relatively large source of these metals between the two sites. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace-element loads substantially increased during stormflow. Suspended-sediment concentrations, discharges, and yields associated with stormflow were significantly larger than those associated with normal flow. The Apr

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Characterization of Stormflows and Wastewater Treatment-Plant Effluent Discharges on Water Quality, Suspended Sediment, and Stream Morphology for Fountain and Monument Creek Watersheds, Colorado, 1981-2006
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2007-5104
ISBN:
9781411318779
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2007
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Colorado Water Science Center
Description:
ix, 77 p.
Time Range Start:
1981-01-01T12:00:00
Time Range End:
2006-12-31T12:00:00
Projection:
Albers Equal Area Conic