The occurrence, trends, and sources of numerous inorganic and organic contaminants were evaluated in Mountain Creek Lake, a reservoir in Dallas, Texas. The study, done in cooperation with the Southern Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command, was prompted by the Navy?s concern for potential off-site migration of contaminants from two facilities on the shore of Mountain Creek Lake, the Naval Air Station Dallas and the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant. Sampling of stormwater (including suspended sediment), lake water, bottom sediment (including streambed sediment), and fish was primarily in Mountain Creek Lake but also was in stormwater outfalls from the Navy facilities, nearby urban streams, and small streams draining the Air Station.
Volatile organic compounds, predominantly solvents from the Reserve Plant and fuel-related compounds from the Air Station, were detected in stormwater from both Navy facilities. Fuel-related compounds also were detected in Mountain Creek Lake at two locations, one near the Air Station inlet where stormwater from a part of the Air Station enters the lake and one at the center of the lake. Concentrations of volatile organic compounds at the two lake sites were small, all less than 5 micrograms per liter.
Elevated concentrations of cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc, from 2 to 4 times concentrations at background sites and urban reference sites, were detected in surficial bottom sediments in Cottonwood Bay, near stormwater outfalls from the Reserve Plant.
Elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls, compared to background and urban reference sites, were detected in surficial sediments in Cottonwood Bay. Elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, indicative of urban sources, also were detected in Cottonwood Creek, which drains an urbanized area apart from the Navy facilities. Elevated concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls were detected in two inlets near the Air Station shoreline. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and heavy metal concentrations near the Air Station shoreline were not elevated compared to urban reference sites.
Much larger concentrations of selected heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls were detected in deeper, older sediments than in surficial sediments in Cottonwood Bay. The decreases in concentrations coincide with changes in wastewater discharge practices at the Reserve Plant. Elevated concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls also were detected in older sediments in the Air Station inlet.
On the basis of dated sediment cores and contaminant discharge histories, contaminant accumulation rates in Cottonwood Bay were much greater historically than recently. Most heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polychlorinated biphenyls that accumulated in the central and eastern parts of Cottonwood Bay appear to have come from the west lagoon on the Reserve Plant. Treated sewage and industrial-process wastewater were discharged to the west lagoon from about 1941 to 1974. Estimated annual contaminant accumulation rates in Cottonwood Bay decreased by from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude after 1974, when most point-source discharges to the west lagoon ceased.
Polychlorinated biphenyls were detected in 61 of 62 individual fish-tissue samples. The largest average concentrations were in eviscerated channel catfish and the smallest were in largemouth bass fillets. Polychlorinated biphenyl and selenium concentrations from analyses of this study were large enough to prompt the Texas State Department of Health to issue a fish-possession ban for Mountain Creek Lake in 1996.
Suspended sediments in stormwater at the lagoon outfalls and at sites on Cottonwood Creek were sampled and analyzed for major and trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides, and polych
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Chemical quality of water, sediment, and fish in Mountain Creek Lake, Dallas, Texas, 1994-97