The effects of highway construction on sediment discharge into Blockhouse Creek and Steam Valley Run, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 80-68
Prepared in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transporation



From October 1972 through September 1977, the effects of highway construction in the 38 square mile Blockhouse Creek basin were studied. Water discharge, suspended-sediment discharge, and stream-temperature data were collected at four stations in the basin. The 5-year period included 1 year before construction, 2 years during construction, and 2 years after construction. The effects of stream relocation and sediment-control methods used in the highway construction were also investigated.

During the period of data collection, about 35,500 tons of suspended sediment was transported by Blockhouse Creek and Steam Valley Run. The data indicate that 9,100 tons was introduced to the stream from construction areas. The normal sediment yield for the two basins was determined to be 80 tons per square mile per year. Most of the sediment was transported by the streams during high flows and probably passed through Blockhouse Creek, as little deposition was observed below the construction area. Stream temperature seemed to be relatively unaffected by the stream relocations and diversions.

Stream relocation and diversion methods were successful in limiting the amount of sediment discharged by the new channels. Physical sediment-control methods limited sediment discharge during baseflow periods and small storms. Coarse sediments especially were controlled by these methods. The most effective method of sediment control was limiting the amount of time that the construction-area soils were exposed. (USGS)

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title The effects of highway construction on sediment discharge into Blockhouse Creek and Steam Valley Run, Pennsylvania
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 80-68
DOI 10.3133/wri8068
Year Published 1980
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description v, 50 p.
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Other Geospatial Blockhouse Creek, Steam Valley Run
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details