Water-quality conditions in the New River, Imperial County, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 79-86



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The New River, when entering the United States at Calexico, Calif., often contains materials which have the appearance of industrial and domestic wastes. Passage of some of these materials is recognized by a sudden increase in turbidity over background levels and the presence of white particulate matter. Water samples taken during these events are usually extremely high in organic content. During a 4-day reconnaissance of water quality in May 1977, white-to-brown extremely turbid water crossed the border on three occasions. On one of these occasions , the water was intensively sampled. The total organic-carbon concentration ranged from 80 to 161 milligrams per liter (mg/l); dissolved organic carbon ranged from 34 to 42 mg/l, and the chemical oxygen demand was as high as 510 mg/l. River profiles showed a dissolved-oxygen sag, with the length of the zone of depressed dissolved-oxygen concentrations varying seasonally. During the summer months, dissolved-oxygen concentrations in the river were lower and the zone of depressed dissolved-oxygen concentrations was longer. The largest increases in dissolved-oxygen concentration from reaeration occurred at the three drop structures and the rock weir near Seeley. The effects of oxygen demanding materials crossing the border extended as far as Highway 80, 19.5 miles downstream from the international boundary at Calexico. Fish kills and anaerobic conditions were also detected as far as Highway 80. Standard bacteria indicator tests for fecal contamination showed a very high health-hazard potential near the border. (Woodard-USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Water-quality conditions in the New River, Imperial County, California
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division,
v, 63 p. :ill., maps ;27 cm.