Preliminary water-quality assessment of the upper White River near Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana

Open-File Report 81-408
By: , and 


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The White River Park Commission is planning the development of park facilities along the White River through Indianapolis, Ind. A key element in the planning is the determination of whether water quality of the river is suitable for recreation. A preliminary water-quality assessment conducted August 4-5, 1980, indicated that, during low-flow steady-state conditions, the river is suitable for partial body contact recreation (any contact with water up to, but not including complete submergence). Dissolved-oxygen concentrations varied but were higher than the Indiana water-quality standards established to ensure conditions for the maintenance of a well-balanced, warm-water fish community. High fecal-coliform densities that have been observed in the White River during high streamflow are probably caused by stormwater runoff carried by combined storm and sanitary sewers. However, during the low-flow, steady-state conditions on August 4-5, 1980, fecal-coliform densities were within the Indiana standards for partial body contact recreation. Quantities of organic matter and concentrations of nutrients and heavy metals in the White River were generally within the limits recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and were generally similar to values for other Indiana rivers. Chromium, copper, lead, zinc, and mercury are accumulating in bottom materials downstream from 30th Street. The phytoplankton concentrations in the White River were high. The dominant phytoplankton species were indicative of rivers moderately affected by organic wastes. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Preliminary water-quality assessment of the upper White River near Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 81-408
DOI 10.3133/ofr81408
Year Published 1981
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey,
Description vii, 57 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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