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Recovery of benthic-invertebrate communities in the White River near Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, following implementation of advanced treatment of municipal wastewater

Archiv fur Hydrobiologie
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Abstract

The City of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, completed construction of advanced-wastewater-treatment systems to enlarge and upgrade existing secondary-treatment processes at the City’s two municipal wastewater-treatment plants in 1983. These plants discharge their effluent to the White River. A study was begun in 1981 to evaluate the effects of municipal wastewater on the quality of the White River near Indianapolis. As part of this study, benthic-invertebrate samples were collected from one riffle upstream and two riffles downstream from the treatment plants annually from 1981 through 1987 (2 times before and 5 times after the plant improvements became operational). Samples were collected during periods of late-summer or early-fall low streamflow with a Surber sampler. Upstream from the wastewater-treatment plants, mayflies and caddisflies were the predominant organisms in the benthic-invertebrate community (from 32 to 93 percent of all organisms; median value is 67 percent) with other insects and mollusks also present. Before implementation of advanced wastewater-treatment, the benthic-invertebrate community downstream from the wastewater treatment plants was predominantly chironomids and oligochaetes (more than 98 percent of all organisms)-organisms that generally are tolerant of organic wastes. Few intolerant species, such as mayflies or caddisflies were found. Following implementation of advanced wastewater treatment, mayflies and caddisflies became numerically dominant in samples collected downstream from the plants. By 1986, these organisms accounted for more than 90 percent of all organisms found at the two downstream sites. The diversity of benthic invertebrates found in these samples resembled that at the upstream site. The improvement in the quality of municipal wastewater effluent resulted in significant improvements in the water quality of the White River downstream from Indianapolis. These changes in river quality, in turn, have resulted in a shift from mostly pollution-tolerant to mostly pollution-intolerant organisms in the benthic-invertebrate community of the White River downstream from Indianapolis. The recovery was not immediate, however, with one of the downstream sites requiring 3 years before pollution-intolerant organisms became numerically dominant.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Recovery of benthic-invertebrate communities in the White River near Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, following implementation of advanced treatment of municipal wastewater
Series title Archiv fur Hydrobiologie
Volume 126
Issue 1
Year Published 1992
Publisher Schweizerbart
Contributing office(s) Indiana Water Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 67
Last page 84
Country United States
State Indiana
City Indianapolis
Other Geospatial Upper White River Basin
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N