Sources of trends in water-quality data for selected streams in Texas for the 1975-89 water years were investigated in this study. The investigation of sources was confined to distinct geographic patterns in the trend indicators for one constituent or for a group of related constituents. The probable source of trend patterns in nutrients and measures of oxygen in the Trinity River Basin was changes in the wastewater treatment facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. A pattern of increased concentrations of inorganic constituents in the upper Colorado River Basin resulted from emergency releases of water from the Natural Dam Lake, a salinity control structure. Trend patterns in inorganic constituents in the Rio Grande Basin were a result of increasing concentrations in the Pecos River and, to a lesser extent, the Rio Grande above the Amistad Reservoir, combined with the effects of reservoir regulation. A pattern of increasing concentrations of organic plus ammonia nitrogen and ammonia nitrogen was detected for the 1975-86 water years for stations with low concentrations (generally less than 5 milligrams per liter) of these nitrogen species. The trends were no longer evident when the period of trend analysis was extended to the 1989 water year. A positive bias in the data caused by the addition of mercuric chloride tablets to preserve nutrient samples during 1980-86 was the probable source of this trend pattern. A pattern of increasing concentrations in dissolved sulfate in the eastern part of the State was a result of a positive bias in the analytical results of a turbidimetric method of sulfate analysis. The source of a state-wide pattern of increased pH in streams could not be identified.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Sources of trends in water-quality data for selected streams in Texas, 1975-89 water years
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center [distributor],