Streambed sediments from 30 sites in the St. Croix River Basin were analyzed for selected chemical elements. Possible occurrences of low-level contamination include: (1) elevated concentrations of arsenic, lead, silver, and to a lesser extent cadmium, copper, and mercury in the Namekagon River downstream of Hayward, Wisconsin; (2) elevated lead concentrations in the St. Croix River downstream of the Stillwater, Minnesota?Hudson, Wisconsin region; (3) slightly elevated concentrations of Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Silver, Vanadium, and Zinc in the Kettle River downstream of Sandstone and Hinckley, Minnesota; (4) and substantially elevated mercury concentrations in Rush Creek downstream of Rush City, Minnesota. Elevated concentrations of copper, lead, and to a lesser extent cadmium, in Osceola Creek, downstream of Osceola, Wisconsin may be due to anthropogenic sources or contributions from bedrock that differs geochemically from sediments farther upstream. There does not appear to be large anthropogenic contributions of trace elements?above the background geochemical and atmospherically deposited levels?in the streams sampled for this study. Many of the elements appear to be associated with mineral sources. Concentrations of potentially toxic trace elements in the St. Croix River Basin generally were lower than concentrations associated with frequent adverse effects to aquatic biota. Exceptions were arsenic (7 of 30 samples) and mercury (1 of 30 samples).
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USGS Numbered Series
Elemental chemistry of streambed sediments of the St. Croix River Basin, 2000