Sediment oxygen demand in the lower Willamette River, Oregon, 1994

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4196
Prepared in cooperation with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
By:  and 



An investigation of sediment oxygen demand (SOD) at the interface of the stream and stream bed was performed in the lower Willamette River (river mile 51 to river mile 3) during August, 1994, as part of a cooperative project with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The primary goals of the investigation were to measure the spatial variability of SOD in the lower Willamette River and to relate SOD to bottom-sediment characteristics.

The SOD chambers used in the study were open-bottomed, opaque plastic cylinders that were seated and sealed on the river bottom by scuba divers. When seated, the chambers contained 52 liters of isolated river water, which was slowly recirculated for at least 2 hours over 0.225 square meters of relatively undisturbed bottom sediment. These chambers could not be deployed in areas with gravels and cobbles, which represent about 55 percent of the study area above Willamette Falls and 30 percent of the river below Willamette Falls.

Sediment oxygen demand is commonly reported as grams of oxygen consumed per square meter of bottom sediment per day (g/m2 p day). The measured SOD rates, corrected to a temperature of 20 degrees C, ranged from 1.3 to 4.1 g/m2' day in the lower Willamette River. The SOD measured above and below Willamette Falls averaged 2.0 and 2.1 g/m2 ' day, respectively. After adjusting for the amount of bottom material composed of gravels and cobbles, the best estimates for reachwide SOD rates above and below Willamette Falls are 1.4 (+ 0.5) and 1.8 (+ 0.3) g/m2' day, respectively.

Sediment samples were collected near each chamber and analyzed for percent water, percent sand, and percent organics. The sand content ranged from 0.1 to 6.2 percent and averaged 1.8 percent. The organic content ranged from 1.4 to 9.6 and averaged 5.6 percent. No statistically significant correlations were found between these sediment characteristics and sediment oxygen demand.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Sediment oxygen demand in the lower Willamette River, Oregon, 1994
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 95-4196
DOI 10.3133/wri954196
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Portland, OR
Contributing office(s) Oregon Water Science Center
Description 14 p.
Country United States
State Oregon
Other Geospatial Lower Willamette River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N