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Water quality, selected chemical characteristics, and toxicity of base flow and urban stormwater in the Pearson Creek and Wilsons Creek Basins, Greene County, Missouri, August 1999 to August 2000

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2002-4124

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Abstract

The chemistry and toxicity of base flow and urban stormwater were characterized to determine if urban stormwater was degrading the water quality of the Pearson Creek and Wilsons Creek Basins in and near the city of Springfield, Greene County, Missouri. Potentially toxic components of stormwater (nutrients, trace metals, and organic compounds) were identified to help resource managers identify and minimize the sources of toxicants. Nutrient loading to the James River from these two basins (especially the Wilsons Creek Basin) is of some concern because of the potential to degrade downstream water quality. Toxicity related to dissolved trace metal constituents in stormwater does not appear to be a great concern in these two basins. Increased heterotrophic activity, the result of large densities of fecal indicator bacteria introduced into the streams after storm events, could lead to associated dissolved oxygen stress of native biota. Analysis of stormwater samples detected a greater number of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than were present in base-flow samples. The number and concentrations of pesticides detected in both the base-flow and stormwater samples were similar.Genotoxicity tests were performed to determine the bioavilability of chemical contaminants and determine the potential harmful effects on aquatic biota of Pearson Creek and Wilsons Creek. Genotoxicity was determined from dialysates from both long-term (approximately 30 days) and storm-event (3 to 5 days) semipermeable membrane device (SPMD) samples that were collected in each basin. Toxicity tests of SPMD samples indicated evidence of genotoxins in all SPMD samples. Hepatic activity assessment of one long-term SPMD sample indicated evidence of contaminant uptake in fish. Chemical analyses of the SPMD samples found that relatively few pesticides and pesticide metabolites had been sequestered in the lipid material of the SPMD; however, numerous PAHs and VOCs were detected in both the long-term and the storm-event exposures. It is suspected, based on the compounds detected in the SPMDs and the water samples, that the observed genotoxicity is largely the result of PAHs and VOCs that were probably derived from petroleum inputs or combustion sources. Therefore the water quality and thus the aquatic environments in the Pearson Creek and Wilsons Creek Basins are being degraded by urban derived contaminants.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water quality, selected chemical characteristics, and toxicity of base flow and urban stormwater in the Pearson Creek and Wilsons Creek Basins, Greene County, Missouri, August 1999 to August 2000
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
2002-4124
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2002
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
v, 80 p. : ill., col. maps ; 28 cm.