Suspended-sediment samples and streamflow data were collected from May 1996 through June 1998 at three sites in the Grand Calumet River Basin - Indiana Harbor Canal at East Chicago, the east branch of the Grand Calumet River at Gary, and the west branch of the Grand Calumet River at Hammond. Sample analysis allowed for retention of sediments of 0.0015 millimeters or larger.
At Indiana Harbor Canal at East Chicago, an automated sampler collected 2,005 suspended-sediment samples from the canal and, of these, 1,856 had associated streamflow values. To evaluate any bias between instream concentrations of suspended sediment and samples collected by the automated sampler, 27 sets of suspended-sediment samples were collected manually in the canal at the same time samples were collected by the automated sampler. There was no consistent bias between the samples collected manually instream and the samples collected by the automated sampler; therefore, no correction factor was applied to the concentrations of suspended sedment for the samples collected by the automated sampler. For the 2,005 and 1,856 samples, the mean suspended-sediment concentrations were the same, 15 milligrams per liter (mg/L), and the range in suspended-sediment concentrations were the same, from less than 1 mg/L to 97 mg/L.
No apparent relation between the concentration of suspended sediment measured in samples from the Indiana Harbor Canal and streamflow was indicated, probably because of complex hydraulic conditions in the study area; most of the streamflow is from industrial and municipal discharges, and streamflow is affected by changes in water levels in Lake Michigan. There did appear to be a seasonal trend in the concentrations of suspended sediment, however, in that the largest concentrations generally were measured during the spring. During the study, four substantial rainfall events were recorded. Only for a rainfall event of 4.20 inches was there a substantial increase in the concentrations of suspended sediment and streamflow in the Indiana Harbor Canal. Six sets of samples were collected from the canal for determination of the percentage of organic material in the suspended sediment. Organic material in these samples averaged 26 percent. Bedload-sediment samples were collected three times in the canal with a bedload-sediment sampler; the collection-bag mesh size was 0.25 millimeter. No bedload sediments were collected in the sampler for any of the sample collections.
Seven suspended-sediment samples were collected from the Grand Calumet River at Gary and at Hammond. The mean suspended sediment concentration measured in samples collected at Gary was 13 mg/L, and the mean suspended-sediment concentration measured in samples collected at Hammond was 6 mg/L. For both sites, there was no apparent relation between the concentration of suspended sediment and streamflow. Four suspended sediment samples were collected from the Grand Calumet River at Gary and at Hammond for determination of the percentage of organic material. The amount of organic material at Gary averaged 35 percent, and the amount of organic material at Hammond averaged 34 percent.
The concentrations of suspended sediment determined for samples collected from the Indiana Harbor Canal and from the Grand Calumet River are less than concentrations of suspended sediment in samples collected from other streams in northwestern Indiana and in other parts of the State.
Loads of suspended sediment were computed as the product of the weekly mean suspended-sediment concentration and the daily average streamflow for the Indiana Harbor Canal at East Chicago. The average suspended-sediment load computed for the canal was 29 tons per day for the first year of the study (June 1996 through May 1997) and 23 tons per day for the second year of the study (June 1997 through May 1998).
Loads of suspended sediment for the Grand Calumet River at Gary and at Hammond were estimated by use of the ratin
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Suspended Sediment in the Indiana Harbor Canal and the Grand Calumet River, Northwestern Indiana, May 1996-June 1998