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  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

    Nutrients and Suspended Solids in Surface Waters of the Upper Illinois River Basin in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, 1978–97

    By Daniel J. Sullivan

    Water-Resources Investigations Report 99–4275

    Middleton, Wisconsin 2000

  • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BRUCE BABBITT, Secretary

    U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Charles G. Groat, Director

    For additional information write to: Copies of this report can be purchased from:

    District Chief U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Information Services 8505 Research Way Box 25286 Middleton, WI 53562-3586 Denver, CO 80225-0286

    Information regarding National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) is available on the Internet on the World Wide Web. You may connect to the NAWQA Home Page using the Uniform Resource Locator (URL):

    http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/

    and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey. The use of firm, trade, and brand names in this report is for identification purposes only

  • ..

    .... 30

    CONTENTS

    Abstract ................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 Introduction........................................................................................................................................................................... 2

    Purpose and scope ....................................................................................................................................................... 2 Background ................................................................................................................................................................. 4

    Description of the study area ................................................................................................................................................ 4 Hydrology ................................................................................................................................................................... 6 Trends in streamflow................................................................................................................................................... 9

    Description of data used in report ......................................................................................................................................... 9 Sources of data ............................................................................................................................................................ 11 Quality assurance of data ............................................................................................................................................ 11

    Methods of data analysis....................................................................................................................................................... 15 Nutrients and suspended solids in the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97......................................................................... 17

    Sources of nutrients and suspended solids in the upper Illinois River Basin ............................................................. 17 Nitrogen concentrations .............................................................................................................................................. 19

    Total ammonia................................................................................................................................................... 19 Total ammonia-plus-organic (Kjeldahl) nitrogen.............................................................................................. 22 Total nitrite plus nitrate ..................................................................................................................................... 22

    Phosphorus concentrations.......................................................................................................................................... 22 Total phosphorus ............................................................................................................................................... 22 Dissolved phosphorus ....................................................................................................................................... 22

    Patterns and variability in nutrient concentrations...................................................................................................... 26 Suspended-solids concentrations ................................................................................................................................ 27

    Transport of nutrients and suspended solids in the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97..................................................... 29 Trends in water quality, 1978–97.......................................................................................................................................... 42 Summary and conclusions .................................................................................................................................................... 52 References cited .................................................................................................................................................................... 54

    FIGURES

    1–4. Maps showing: 1. Location of National Water-Quality Assessment study areas ........................................................................... 3 2. Subbasins and locations of Illinois Environmental Protection Agency water-quality monitoring sites

    within the upper Illinois River Basin.............................................................................................................. 5 3. Land use in the upper Illinois River Basin........................................................................................................ 7 4. Location of canals, selected major wastewater-treatment plants, and completed Tunnel and Reservoir

    Project tunnels................................................................................................................................................. 8 5–6. Graphs showing:

    5. Annual mean streamflow at selected sites in the upper Illinois River Basin .................................................. 10 6. Suspended-sediment and total-suspended-solids concentrations in split samples of water from

    upper Illinois River Basin streams.................................................................................................................. 16 7–10. Boxplots showing concentrations of nutrients in streams of the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97:

    7. Total ammonia nitrogen .................................................................................................................................... 20 8. Total ammonia-plus-organic (Kjeldahl) nitrogen ............................................................................................. 21 9. Total nitrite-plus-nitrate nitrogen ...................................................................................................................... 23

    10. Total phosphorus ............................................................................................................................................... 24 11. Dissolved phosphorus ....................................................................................................................................... 25

    12. Graph showing median monthly concentrations of selected nutrients in the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97 ................................................................................................................................................................. 28

    13. Boxplot showing total suspended-solids concentrations in streams of the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97 14. Graph showing median monthly concentrations of total suspended-solids and total volatile-solids

    concentrations in the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97 ................................................................................... 31

    CONTENTS V

  • .. 38

    ..... 43 .... 44

    ..... 18

    . 46

    CONTENTS—Continued

    FIGURES—Continued

    15–18. Maps showing estimated annual load in streams of the upper Illinois River Basin: 15. Total ammonia-plus-organic (Kjeldahl) nitrogen and total ammonia nitrogen ............................................ 16. Total nitrite-plus-nitrate and total nitrogen..................................................................................................... 39 17. Total phosphorus and dissolved phosphorus .................................................................................................. 40 18. Total suspended solids .................................................................................................................................... 41

    19. Maps showing estimated nutrient loads from selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin.................. 20. Maps showing estimated nutrient yields from selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin..................

    21–26. Maps showing trends in concentrations in streams of the upper Illinois River Basin, 1978–97: 21. Total ammonia nitrogen.................................................................................................................................. 45 22 Total ammonia-plus-organic (Kjeldahl) nitrogen .....................................

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