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Water-quality assessment of South-Central Texas : descriptions and comparisons of nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds at three intensive fixed sites, 1996-98

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4155

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Abstract

Water-quality samples were collected during April 1996-April 1998 at three intensive fixed sites in the San Antonio region of the South-Central Texas study unit as part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program. The sampling strategy for the intensive fixed-site assessment is centered on obtaining information about the occurrence and seasonal patterns of selected constituents including nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds. The three sites selected to determine the effects of agriculture and urbanization on surface-water quality in the study unit are Medina River at LaCoste (agriculture indicator site), Salado Creek (lower station) at San Antonio (urban indicator site), and San Antonio River near Elmendorf (integrator site).Concentrations of two nutrients, dissolved nitrite plus nitrate nitrogen and total phosphorus, were largest at the integrator site, which is downstream of municipal wastewater treatment plants. Nitrite plus nitrate nitrogen concentrations at this site often exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) for drinking water. All total phosphorus concentrations at the site exceeded the EPA recommended maximum concentration for streams not discharging directly into reservoirs. Nitrite plus nitrate nitrogen concentrations at the integrator site tended to be smaller, and total phosphorus concentrations at the urban site tended to be larger in samples collected during stormflow than during base flow. The most detections and largest concentrations of three pesticides (atrazine, diazinon, and prometon) were in samples collected at the urban site. Some pesticide concentrations at the agriculture site showed a seasonal pattern of increasing concentrations during spring, the peak application season. Four pesticides (atrazine, deethylatrazine, diazinon, and prometon) were detected in at least 38 percent of samples collected at all three sites. The concentrations of all detected pesticides that have an MCL were less than the MCL at the three sites. More volatile organic compounds (VOC) were detected at the urban indicator site than at the agriculture indicator site, mostly likely because more sources are located in urbanized areas. The most VOCs detected and the largest concentrations of two VOCs (chloroform and tetrahydrofuran) were in samples from the integrator site. More VOCs were detected in samples collected at the integrator site during stormflow than during base flow. The concentrations of all detected VOCs that have an MCL were less than the MCL at the three sites.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water-quality assessment of South-Central Texas : descriptions and comparisons of nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds at three intensive fixed sites, 1996-98
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
99-4155
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1999
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; U.S. Geological Survey, Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
vi, 24 p. :ill., col. maps ;28 cm.