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Water-quality characteristics of streams in the Piceance Creek and Yellow Creek drainage basins, northwestern Colorado, water years 1977-81

Water-Resources Investigations Report 84-4261

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Abstract

Physical and chemical data for streams in the Piceance Creek and Yellow Creek drainage basins, Colorado collected during the 1977-81 water years are summarized. Stream temperatures ranged from -0.5 to 35.0 degrees Celsius and were warmest near the downstream reaches of Piceance and Yellow Creeks. Minimum concentrations of dissolved oxygen were greater than 3.0 milligrams per liter in Piceance and Yellow Creeks, and concentrations of dissolved oxygen exceeded saturation during periods of active photosynthesis. Values of pH in streams ranged from 6.9 to 9.0 and were least during snowmelt runoff and greatest in low flows in the lower reaches of Piceance and Yellow Creeks. Concentrations of suspended sediment exceeded 100 ,000 milligrams per liter in localized runoff. Specific conductance varied inversely with discharge. Sodium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and sulfate ions and concentration ranges of dissolved solids between 400 and 1,700 milligrams per liter were characteristic of the water quality of the perennial streams. Calcium and bicarbonate dominated the major ions, and concentrations of dissolved solids normally were less than 600 milligrams per liter in the intermittent streams during storm and snowmelt runoff. Augmentation to Piceance and Yellow Creeks from ground-water sources in the lower reaches of both streams increased concentrations of dissolved solids several thousand milligrams per liter during medium and low flows and caused a change in water-quality type from sodium magnesium bicarbonate to a high-percentage sodium bicarbonate. Increases in dissolved concentrations of arsenic, boron, fluoride, lithium, strontium, and sulfate were related to ground-water sources or discharges from areas of energy resource development. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water-quality characteristics of streams in the Piceance Creek and Yellow Creek drainage basins, northwestern Colorado, water years 1977-81
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
84-4261
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1985
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vii, 80 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.