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Stream reconnaissance for nutrients and other water-quality parameters, Greater Pittsburgh Region, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 50-74

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Abstract

Eighty-five stream sites in and near the six-county Greater Pittsburgh Region were sampled in mid-June 1971 in mid-October 1972. Data are reported for 89 sites because 4 substitute sites were sampled in the second period. Drainage areas of the basins sampled ranged from 4.1 to 19,5000 square miles (10.6 to 50,500 square kilometres). The chemical analyses included constituents of three general classes: (1) nutrients, (2) activity indicators, and (3) dominant anions. Modification of the natural chemical and physical characteristics of the surface waters by man's activities is evident in some of the data. However, the activities are so diverse in type and in areal extent that their influence in terms of cause and effect is often obscure.


Nutrient concentrations were high enough to indicate potential problems at about a quarter of the sampling sites. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH values indicated a generally favorable capacity for regeneration or recovery from degradation, although a number a streams east of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers are marginal or lacking in the capacity. Regionally, sulfate is the dominant ion and was observed in concentrations of 40 milligrams per litre or more at 90 percent of the sites. Bicarbonate exceeded 100 milligrams per litre at 22 sites. A moderate to high degree of mineralization, as indicated by conductance readings of more than 500 micromhos per cetrimetre at half of the sampling sites, is a characteristic of the region's surface waters.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Stream reconnaissance for nutrients and other water-quality parameters, Greater Pittsburgh Region, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
50-74
Year Published:
1975
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
Report: iv, 47 p.; 2 Plates: 16.60 x 21.93 inches and 13.75 and 16.71 inches
Number of Pages:
54
Country:
United States
State:
Pennsylvania
Other Geospatial:
Greater Pittsburgh Region
Scale:
500000