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Chemical quality of the Saw Mill River, Westchester County, New York, 1981-83

Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4225

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Abstract

Surface waters, bottom sediments and coatings formed on artificial substrates (ceramic tiles) were analyzed to evaluate the chemical quality of the Saw Mill River, New York. Heavy metals, nutrients, and organic contaminants were studied. Dissolved orthophosphate concentrations were highest in the lower third of the river. Dissolved manganese was the only metal to exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality criteria. Arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc concentrations were highest in waters from the lowest 4 river miles. Concentrations of copper, lead, and zinc in bottom sediments from the lowest 3 river miles were greater than in upstream sediments. Concentrations of nine heavy metals were higher on tiles emplaced below river mile 3 than on tiles upstream. Few organic compounds were detected in the water column; none persisted at all sites. Chlordane, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) were found in bottom sediments throughout the basin. PCB concentrations were highest in the lowest 6 river miles; the other organic compounds exhibited no spatial patterns. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were most abundant in bottom sediments from the lowest 2 river miles. Collectively the distribution of contaminants indicates that river quality deteriorates in the lower, more heavily urbanized reach. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Chemical quality of the Saw Mill River, Westchester County, New York, 1981-83
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
84-4225
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1984
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 51 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.