Beaver Lake is a large, deep-storage reservoir located in the upper White River Basin in northwestern Arkansas, and was completed in 1963 for the purposes of flood control, hydroelectric power, and water supply. Beaver Lake is affected by point and nonpoint sources of minerals, nutrients, and sediments. The City of Fayetteville discharges about half of its sewage effluent into the White River immediately upstream from the backwater of the reservoir. The City of West Fork discharges its sewage effluent into the West Fork of the White River, and the City of Huntsville discharges its sewage effluent into a tributary of War Eagle Creek.
A study was conducted to describe the ambient conditions and fate and transport of dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate concentrations in Beaver Lake. Dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate are components of wastewater discharged into Beaver Lake and a major concern of the drinking water utilities that use Beaver Lake as their source. A two-dimensional model of hydrodynamics and water quality was calibrated to include simulations of dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate for the period January 2006 through December 2010. Estimated daily dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate loads were increased in the White River and War Eagle Creek tributaries, individually and the two tributaries together, by 1.2, 1.5, 2.0, 5.0, and 10.0 times the baseline conditions to examine fate and transport of these constituents through time at seven locations (segments) in the reservoir, from upstream to downstream in Beaver Lake.
Fifteen dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate fate and transport scenarios were compared to the baseline simulation at each of the seven downstream locations in the reservoir, both 2 meters (m) below the surface and 2 m above the bottom. Concentrations were greater in the reservoir at model segments closer to where the tributaries entered the reservoir. Concentrations resulting from the increase in loading became more diluted farther downstream from the source. Differences in concentrations between the baseline condition and the 1.2, 1.5, and 2.0 times baseline concentration scenarios were smaller than the differences in the 5.0 and 10.0 times baseline concentration scenarios. The results for both the 2 m below the surface and 2 m above the bottom were similar, with the exception of concentrations resulting from the increased loading factors (5.0 and 10.0 times), where concentrations 2 m above the bottom were consistently greater than those 2 m below the surface at most segments.