Water quality of Lake Austin and Town Lake, Austin, Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4233




Lake Austin and Town Lake are impoundments on the Colorado River in Travis County, central Texas, and are a source of water for municipal and industrial water supplies, electrical-power generation, and recreation for more than 500,000 people in the Austin metropolitan area. Small vertical temperature variations in both lakes were attributed to shallow depths in the lakes and short retention times of water in the lakes during the summer months. The largest areal variations in dissolved oxygen generally occur in Lake Austin during the summer as a result of releases of water from below the thermocline in Lake Travis. Except for iron, manganese, and mercury, dissolved concentrations of trace elements in water collected from Lake Austin and Town Lake did not exceed the primary or secondary drinking water standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Little or no effect of stormwater runoff on temperature, dissolved oxygen, or minor elements could be detected in either Lake Austin or Town Lake. Little seasonal or areal variation was noted in nitrogen concentrations in Lake Austin or Town Lake. Total phosphorus concentrations generally were small in both lakes. Increased concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were detected after storm runoff inflow in Town Lake, but not in Lake Austin; densities of fecal-coliform bacteria increased in Lake Austin and Town Lake, but were substantially greater in Town Lake than in Lake Austin. (USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Water quality of Lake Austin and Town Lake, Austin, Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Copies available from Books and Open-File Reports,
vii, 322 p. :ill. ;28 cm.