Water quality in Reedy Fork and Buffalo Creek basins in the Greensboro area, North Carolina, 1986-87

Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4210




Water and bottom-sediment samples were collected from April 1986 through September 1987 at 19 sites in Guilford County and the City of Greensboro, North Carolina. Sampling locations included 13 stream sites, two lakes that supply the City of Greensboro with drinking water, two City of Greensboro finished drinking-water filtration plants, and effluent from the two municipal wastewater plants prior to outfall into receiving streams. Water sampling consisted of six surveys during various stages of steady ground-water flow at all sites and high-flow-event sampling during two storms at six sites. Bottom-sediment samples were collected at three sites during two routine sampling surveys. A summary of nearly 22, 000 separate chemical or physical analyses of water samples or bottom sediment is presented and discussed as individual values, ranges of values, or median values with respect to the locations of sampling sites, streamflow conditions, or other information bearing on water-quality conditions under discussion. The results include discussions of general water-quality indicators; major ion, nutrient, and trace-element concentrations; acid and base/neutral extractable organic compounds; volatile organic compounds; and organochlorine and organophosphorus pesticides detected at each sampling site. Loadings of selected constituents are also estimated on a yearly and daily basis. The quality of the raw and finished water, municipal effluents, and streams in the Greensboro area are characterized by using State and Federal water-quality standards. Inorganic constituents most commonly found in excess of standards were iron, copper, zinc, arsenic, phosphorus, manganese, cyanide, and mercury. Relatively few organic compounds were detected; however, those consistently reported were phthalate, thihalomethane, organophosphorus pesticide, benzol, and phenolic compounds. Selected inorganic, physical, and total organic carbon data are used in a Wilcoxon test for two independent variables to statistically compare water-quality characteristics in selected rural, semideveloped and urban basins. During low-flow sampling, the constituents that differed significantly among all sites were calcium, magnesium, and chloride. During low flows, concentrations of orthophosphate, fluoride, sulfate, and TOC differed at the urban site from the rural and semideveloped and urban sites. There were no significant differences among sites in concentrations of sodium, suspended sediment, nickel, zinc, copper, and mercury during low flows. The Wilcoxon test performed on high-flow data indicated that concentrations of TOC, chloride, sulfate, suspended sediment, and nickel were not significantly different among the sites.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Water quality in Reedy Fork and Buffalo Creek basins in the Greensboro area, North Carolina, 1986-87
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Contributing office(s):
South Atlantic Water Science Center
vii, 81 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.
United States
North Carolina
Other Geospatial:
Buffalo Creek basin, Reedy Fork basin