An investigation of the occurrence of phosporus, other nutrients, and triazine herbicides in water samples from the Hillsdale Lake Basin in northeast Kansas was conducted from May 1994 through May 1995. Point-source and nonpoint-source contributions of these water-quality constituents were estimated by conducting synoptic sampling at 48 sites in the basin during five periods of low- flow conditions. Samples were collected for the determination of nutrients, including total phosphorus as phosphorus, dissolved orthophosphate as phosphorus, total nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, and total ammonia plus organic nitrogen as nitrogen, and for selected triazine herbicides. On the basis of criteria developed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Hillsdale Water-Quality Protection Project established a goal to maintain water quality in the tributaries of the Hillsdale Lake Basin at a mean annual low-flow total phosphorus concentration of 0.05 mg/L (milligrams per liter). The mean low- flow total phosphorus concentration of water samples collected in the Big Bull Creek (which includes drainage from Martin Creek), Rock Creek, Little Bull Creek, Wade Branch, and Smith Branch subbasins during low-flow conditions ranged from 0.05 to 4.9 mg/L during this study. Of the 44 sites sampled during low flow, 95 percent had low-flow total phosphorus concentrations larger than the 0.05-mg/L criterion. Discharges from wastewater- treatment plants located in Big Bull Creek and Martin Creek subbasins and the Little Bull Creek subbasin affected nutrient concentrations. Nutrient concentrations in water samples collected from the subbasins not affected by point-source discharges generally were smaller than those in the Big Bull Creek and Little Bull Creek subbasins. Estimated annual low-flow phosphorus loads computed at sampling sites located at the outlet of the subbasins show that the Big Bull Creeksubbasin, which includes drainage from the Martin Creek subbasin, had the largest estimate annual low-flow load, 2,740 kg/yr (kilograms per year).Rock Creek, Little Bull Creek, Wade Branch, and Smith Branch subbasins contributed less annual low-flow phosphorus load, 175, 161, 234, and 22kg/yr, respectively. With the exception of the Smith Branch subbasin, the largest triazine herbicide concentrations occurred in water samples collectedduring May 1994 and May 1995. During May 1994, 10 of 17 sampling sites in the Big Bull Creek and Martin Creek subbasins, 5 of 6 sites in theRock Creek subbasin, and 4 of 10 sites in the Little Bull Creek subbasin had triazine herbicide concentrations in water larger than the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), which is an annual mean 3.0 ug/L (micrograms per liter) for atrazine indrinking water. During May 1995, 7 of 19 sites in the Big Bull Creek and Martin Creek subbasins, 5 of 6 sites in the Rock Creek subbasin, 1 of 12 sites in the Little Bull Creek subbasin, and 2 of 4 sites in the Wade Branch subbasin had samples with trazine herbicide concentrations larger than the MCL.Water samples collected in the Rock Creek subbasins had the largest mean triazine herbicide concentrations during May 1994 and May 1995, 6.4 and 4.5 ug/L, respectively.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Occurrence of phosphorus, other nutrients, and triazine herbicides in water from the Hillsdale Lake basin, Northeast Kansas, May 1994 through May 1995
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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