Streamflow and water quality of the Grand Calumet River, Lake County, Indiana, and Cook County, Illinois, October 1984

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4208

Prepared in cooperation with the Indiana State Board of Health
ORCID iD and



A diel (24-hour) water-quality survey was done to investigate the sources of dry-weather waste inputs attributable to other than permitted point-source effluent and to evaluate the waste-load assimilative capacity of the Grand Calumet River, Lake County, Indiana, and Cook County, Illinois, in October 1984. Flow in the Grand Calumet River consists almost entirely of municipal and industrial effluents which comprised more than 90% of the 500 cu ft/sec flow observed at the confluence of the East Branch Grand Calumet River and the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal during the study. At the time of the study, virtually all of the flow in the West Branch Grand Calumet River was municipal effluent. Diel variations in streamflow of as much as 300 cu ft/sec were observed in the East Branch near the ship canal. The diel variation diminished at the upstream sampling sites in the East Branch. In the West Branch, the diel variation in flow was quite drastic; complete reversals of flow were observed at sampling stations near the ship canal. Average dissolved-oxygen concentrations at stations in the East Branch ranged from 5.7 to 8.2 mg/L and at stations in the West Branch from 0.8 to 6.6 mg/L. Concentrations of dissolved solids, suspended solids, biochemical-oxygen demand, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphorus were substantially higher in the West Branch than in the East Branch. In the East Branch, only the Indiana Stream Pollution Control Board water-quality standards for total phosphorus and phenol were exceeded. In the West Branch, water-quality standards for total ammonia, chloride, cyanide, dissolved solids, fluoride, total phosphorus, mercury, and phenol were exceeded and dissolved oxygen was less than the minimum allowable. Three areas of significant differences between cumulative effluent and instream chemical-mass discharges were identified in the East Branch and one in the West Branch. The presence of unidentified waste inputs in the East Branch were indicated by differences in the chemical-mass discharges at three sites. Elevated suspended solids, biochemical-oxygen demand, and ammonia chemical-mass discharges at Columbia Avenue indicated the presence of a source of what may have been untreated sewage to the West Branch during the survey. (Author 's abstract)

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow and water quality of the Grand Calumet River, Lake County, Indiana, and Cook County, Illinois, October 1984
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Indianapolis, IN
Contributing office(s):
Indiana Water Science Center
xi, 137 p.
United States
Illinois, Indiana
Cook County, Lake County
Other Geospatial:
Grand Calumet River
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