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Effects of urbanization on water quality in the Kansas River, Shunganunga Creek Basin, and Soldier Creek, Topeka, Kansas, October 1993 through September 1995

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4045

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Abstract

A study of urban-related water-qulity effects in the Kansas River, Shunganunga Creek Basin, and Soldier Creek in Topeka, Kansas, was conducted from October 1993 through September 1995. The purpose of this report is to assess the effects of urbanization on instream concentrations of selected physical and chemical constituents within the city of Topeka. A network of seven sampling sites was established in the study area. Samples principally were collected at monthly intervals from the Kansas River and from the Shunganunga Creek Basin, and at quarterly intervals from Soldier Creek. The effects of urbanization werestatistically evaluated from differences in constituent concentrations between sites on the same stream. No significant differences in median concentrations of dissolved solids, nutrients, or metals and trace elements, or median densities offecal bacteria were documented between sampling sites upstream and downstream from the major urbanized length of the Kansas River in Topeka.Discharge from the city's primary wastewater- treatment plant is the largest potential source of contamination to the Kansas River. This discharge increased concentrations of dissolved ammonia, totalphosphorus, and densities of fecal bacteria.Calculated dissolved ammonia as nitrogen concentrations in water from the Kansas River ranged from 0.03 to 1.1 milligrams per liter after receiving treatment-plant discharge. However, most of the calculated concentrations wereconsiderably less than 50 percent of Kansas Department of Health and Environment water- quality criteria, with a median value of 20 percent.Generally, treatment-plant discharge increased calculated total phosphorus concentrations in water from the Kansas River by 0.01 to 0.04 milligrams per liter, with a median percentage increase of 7.6 percent. The calculated median densities of fecal coliform and fecal Streptococci bacteria in water from the Kansas River increased from 120 and 150colonies per 100 milliliters of water, respectively, before treatment-plant discharge to a calculated 4,900 and 4,700 colonies per 100 milliliters of water, respectively, after discharge. Median concentrations of dissolved solids were not significantly different between three sampling sites in the Shunganunga Creek Basin. Median concentrations of dissolved nitrate as nitrogen, total phosphorus, and dissolved orthophosphate were significantly larger in water from the upstream- most Shunganunga Creek sampling site than in water from either of the other sampling sites in the Shunganunga Creek Basin probably because of the site's proximity to a wastewater-treatment plant.Median concentrations of dissolved nitrate as nitrogen and total phosphorus during 1993-95 at upstream sampling sites were either significantlylarger than during 1979-81 in response to increase of wastewater-treatment plant discharge or smaller because of the elimination of wastewater-treatment plant discharge. Median concentrations of dissolved ammonia as nitrogen were significantly less during 1993-95 than during 1979-81. Median concentrations of total aluminum, iron, maganese, and molybdenum were significantly larger in water from the downstream-mostShunganunga Creek sampling site than in water from the upstream-most sampling site. This probably reflects their widespread use in the urbanenvironment between the upstream and downstream Shunganunga Creek sampling sites. Little water-quality effect from the urbanization was indicated by results from the Soldier Creek sampling site. Median concentrations of most water-quality constituents in water from this sampling site were the smallest in water from any sampling site in the study area. Herbicides were detected in water from all sampling sites. Some of the more frequently detected herbicides included acetochlor, alachlor,atrazine, cyanazine, EPTC, metolachlor, prometon, simazine, and tebuthiuron. Detected insecticides including chlordane,

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of urbanization on water quality in the Kansas River, Shunganunga Creek Basin, and Soldier Creek, Topeka, Kansas, October 1993 through September 1995
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
97-4045
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1997
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
Description:
vi, 84 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.