Physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the Boise River were examined from October 1987 to March 1988 to determine whether trace elements in effluents from two Boise wastewater treatment facilities were detrimental to aquatic communities. Cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cyanide, lead, nickel, and silver concentrations in the Boise River were less than or near analytical detection levels and were less than chronic toxicity criteria when detectable. Arsenic, copper, and zinc were detected in concentrations less than chronic toxicity criteria. Concentrations of trace elements in bottom material generally were small and could not be attributed to effluents from wastewater treatment facilities. From October to December 1987, mean density of benthic invertebrates colonizing artificial substrates was from 6,100 individuals/substrate downstream from the West Boise wastewater treatment facility to 14,000 individuals per substrate downstream from the Lander Street wastewater treatment facility. From January to March 1988 , mean density of benthic invertebrates colonizing artificial substrates was from 7,100 individuals per substrate downstream from the West Boise facility to 10,000 individuals per substrate near Star. Insect communities upstream and downstream from the wastewater treatment facilities were strongly associated, and coeffients of community loss indicated that effluents had benign enriching effects. Distribution of mayflies indicates that trace-element concentrations in effluents did not adversely affect intolerant organisms in the Boise River. Condition factor of whitefish was significantly increased downstream from the Lander Street wastewater treatment facility and was significantly decreased downstream from the West Boise wastewater treatment facility.
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USGS Numbered Series
Physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the Boise River from Veterans Memorial Parkway, Boise to Star, Idaho, October 1987 to March 1988