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Water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa and streamflow and water quality of selected tributaries to Lake Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1982-86

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4002

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Abstract

Lake Tuscaloosa, created in 1969 by the impoundment of North River, provides the primary water supply for Tuscaloosa, Alabama , and surrounding areas. This report describes the percent contribution of major tributaries to the mean inflow to the lake; water quality; and changes in water quality in the lake and selected tributaries. During base flow, about 60% of the total flow into Lake Tuscaloosa is contributed by Binion and Carroll Creeks, which drain only 22% of the Lake Tuscaloosa basin. Binion and Carroll Creek basins are underlain primarily by sand and gravel deposits of the Coker Formation. Mean inflow to the lake was 1,150 cu ft/sec during 1983, a wet year, and 450 cu ft/sec during 1985, a relatively dry year. More than 80% of the total inflow during both years was contributed by North River and Binion, Cripple, and Carroll Creeks. About 59% was contributed by North River during those years. Except for pH, sulfate, and dissolved and total recoverable iron and manganese, the water quality of the tributaries is generally within drinking water limits and acceptable for most uses. The water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa is generally within drinking water limits and acceptable for most uses. The maximum and median concentrations of sulfate increased every year at the dam from 1979 to 1985 (7.2 to 18 mg/L and 6.2 to 14 mg/L, respectively). The dissolved solids concentrations for water at the dam have varied (1979-86) from 27 to 43 mg/L; the sulfate, 5.2 to 18 mg/L; and the dissolved iron, 10 to 250 micrograms/L--all within the recommended drinking water limits. However, concentrations of dissolved manganese and total recoverable iron and manganese at the dam commonly exceeded the recommended drinking water limits. In November 1985, after the summer warmup and increase in biological activity, the water quality at five depth profiles sites on Lake Tuscaloosa was acceptable for most uses, generally. However, a dissolved oxygen concentration of 1 mg/L or less was observed within 5 to 10 ft of the bottom for several depth profiles. At depths > 35 to 40 ft (out of a total depth of about 50 to 100 ft) the dissolved oxygen concentration was < 5 mg/L at several sites. By mid-January 1986, the temperature and dissolved oxygen depth profiles were virtually constant from top to bottom of the lake at all five sites; this indicated that lake turnover was complete. However, significant variation existed in pH depth profiles. (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water quality of Lake Tuscaloosa and streamflow and water quality of selected tributaries to Lake Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1982-86
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
87-4002
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1987
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vi, 64 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.