Las Vegas Wash, a natural wash east of Las Vegas, Nevada, carries stormwater, groundwater drainage, and sewage effluent from two sewage treatment plants to Lake Mean. Over 80 percent of the normal discharge of approximately 3.4 m3/s (120 ft3/s) consists of effluent from the City of Las Vegas and Clark County sewage treatment plants. Beginning in the 1950s, a large wetland area developed along the wash that supported waterfowl populations and contributed to some water quality transformations. Heavy rains and subsequent flooding in the area in 1983 and 1984 resulted in erosion and channelization that greatly reduced the wetland area within Las Vegas Wash. The reduction in wetland area shortened water travel time in the wash and affected water quality. The primary impacts on the water entering Lake Mead have been an increase in temperature, a decrease in dissolved oxygen concentration, and an increase in ammonia levels. Other physical-chemical parameters and changes in nutrient transformations are also discussed.
Additional publication details
Changes in the morphometry of Las Vegas Wash and the impact on water quality