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Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Sun River area, west-central Montana, 1986-87

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4244

By:
, , and

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Abstract

The Sun River area was selected for a reconnaissance investigation of irrigation drainage because sufficient information existed to indicate that potential problems of a toxic nature might exist. The area of study included the Sun River Irrigation Project, Freeze-out Lake Game Management Area, and Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Water, bottom sediment , and biota were sampled at selected sites and analyzed for inorganic and organic constituents that could be toxic at large concentrations. Although selenium was of primary concern, other trace elements and selected pesticides were also analyzed. Some water quality problems have been prevalent for many years in the Sun River Irrigation Projects, including the Sun River and Muddy Creek. However, during this study, most sampling sites were free of concentrations of toxic constituents that are in excess of established criteria and standards. There was little change in arsenic, boron, mercury, and selenium concentrations in fish and invertebrates at Sun River sampling sites upstream and downstream from the irrigation project. Presently, the most serious threat within the irrigation project appears to be from nitrate in groundwater. Water from some wells contains nitrate concentration in excess of drinking water standards (10 mg/L) established for the State of Montana. The largest selenium concentrations in water and bottom sediment were from seeps that surround Benton Lake, with maximum concentrations of 580 mg/L in water and biological samples. Several eared-grebe livers from Freezeout Lake and several coot livers and eggs from Benton Lake had selenium concentrations indicative of contamination. (See also W89-07064) (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Sun River area, west-central Montana, 1986-87
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
87-4244
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1988
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vi, 78 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.