Simulation of effects of wastewater discharges on Sand Creek and lower Caddo Creek near Ardmore, Oklahoma

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4022




A streamflow and water-quality model was developed for reaches of Sand and Caddo Creeks in south-central Oklahoma to simulate the effects of wastewater discharge from a refinery and a municipal treatment plant.

The purpose of the model was to simulate conditions during low streamflow when the conditions controlling dissolved-oxygen concentrations are most severe.

Data collected to calibrate and verify the streamflow and water-quality model include continuously monitored streamflow and water-quality data at two gaging stations and three temporary monitoring stations; wastewater discharge from two wastewater plants; two sets each of five water-quality samples at nine sites during a 24-hour period; dye and propane samples; periphyton samples; and sediment oxygen demand measurements. The water-quality sampling, at a 6-hour frequency, was based on a Lagrangian reference frame in which the same volume of water was sampled at each site.

To represent the unsteady streamflows and the dynamic water-quality conditions, a transport modeling system was used that included both a model to route streamflow and a model to transport dissolved conservative constituents with linkage to reaction kinetics similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency QUAL2E model to simulate nonconservative constituents. These model codes are the Diffusion Analogy Streamflow Routing Model (DAFLOW) and the branched Lagrangian transport model (BLTM) and BLTM/QUAL2E that, collectively, as calibrated models, are referred to as the Ardmore Water-Quality Model.

The Ardmore DAFLOW model was calibrated with three sets of streamflows that collectively ranged from 16 to 3,456 cubic feet per second. The model uses only one set of calibrated coefficients and exponents to simulate streamflow over this range. The Ardmore BLTM was calibrated for transport by simulating dye concentrations collected during a tracer study when streamflows ranged from 16 to 23 cubic feet per second. Therefore, the model is expected to be most useful for low streamflow simulations. The Ardmore BLTM/QUAL2E model was calibrated and verified with water-quality data from nine sites where two sets of five samples were collected. The streamflow during the water-quality sampling in Caddo Creek at site 7 ranged from 8.4 to 20 cubic feet per second, of which about 5.0 to 9.7 cubic feet per second was contributed by Sand Creek. The model simulates the fate and transport of 10 water-quality constituents. The model was verified by running it using data that were not used in calibration; only phytoplankton were not verified.

Measured and simulated concentrations of dissolved oxygen exhibited a marked daily pattern that was attributable to waste loading and algal activity. Dissolved-oxygen measurements during this study and simulated dissolved-oxygen concentrations using the Ardmore Water-Quality Model, for the conditions of this study, illustrate that the dissolved-oxygen sag curve caused by the upstream wastewater discharges is confined to Sand Creek.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of effects of wastewater discharges on Sand Creek and lower Caddo Creek near Ardmore, Oklahoma
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
North Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
v, 124 p.