As part of a comprehensive water-quality assessment of the Kentucky River Basin, samples of water, sediment, and bedrock were analyzed for metals and other trace elements to describe the spatial and temporal distribution of constituents in streams and rivers, to determine annual loads and trends of constituents at fixed stations, and evaluate relations of concentrations and loads with natural and human sources. Concentrations of metals and other trace elements in streambed sediments differed among physiographic regions of the basin. Large concentrations of metals were found in the Knobs Region because of relations with Devonian shale geochemistry. Large concentrations of chromium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc were found in urban streambed sediments of the Inner Bluegrass Region; these elements were derived from stormwater runoff, point-source discharges, and other human sources. Barium and lithium concentrations were elevated in streambed sediments that receive oil- well-brine discharges. Elevated concentrations of antimony, arsenic, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, uranium, and vanadium in sediments of the basin are associated with geologic sources. Concentrations of metals and other trace elements in water samples are related to stream discharge and sediment trans- port. Land disturbance contributes to increased transport of sediment in streams, thereby in- creasing concentrations of sediment-adsorbed metals during seasonal high flows. Significant upward 10- to 15-year trends in concentrations of aluminum, iron, manganese, and zinc were found at water- quality sampling stations in the basin. Federal and State water-quality criteria for those constituents, and beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, and silver, were exceeded at stations affected by land disturbance and other human activities.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-quality assessment of the Kentucky River Basin, Kentucky; distribution of metals and other trace elements in sediment and water, 1987-90
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],