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Title: Literature survey of reservoir contaminant problems
Authors: Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.). Laboratory for Wetland Soils and Sediments
Environmental and Water Quality Operational Studies (U.S.)
Khalid, R. A.
Gambrell, Robert P.
Taylor, Barbara A.
Patrick, W. H. (William H.), 1925-
Keywords: Chemicals
Water quality
Publisher: Environmental Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Description: Technical Report
Abstract: This study was conducted to review, analyze, and interpret the existing data on the nature and magnitude of Corps of Engineer (CE) reservoir toxic chemical contaminant problems and to suggest interim guidelines, if possible, for operational and management techniques to minimize contaminant problems based on the behavior of contaminants in reservoir ecosystems. Reservoir contaminant data were collected from published literature, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STORET system, CE Division and District personnel. and reports from various other Federal and state agencies. The EPA water quality criteria for toxic pollutants and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits on toxic substances present in aquatic food species were used in this report to compare contaminant levels reported in CE reservoirs. Chemical contaminants data reported for CE reservoirs were of necessity collected from different sources and may lack uniformity in sampling techniques, sampling depth, sample pretreatment, and accuracy and precision of analytical methods used. Due to these and numerous other factors, such as reporting of detection limits, the data should only be used for general interpretation of potential chemical contaminant problems existent in CE reservoirs. The procedures used to evaluate available contaminants data were based on comparisons with applicable Federal and state criteria. The data base was, however, subject to many sources of error which limited its usefulness in these evaluations. The results of the survey also show that while data on the various inorganic contaminants were limited and reported for only a small fraction of CE reservoirs, data on the organic contaminants were even more limited. Information was generally insufficient to accurately determine the nature and magnitude of contaminant problems in CE reservoirs. Exceptions existed where intensive, quality monitoring had been conducted on a few selected reservoirs. For most reservoirs, however, there has been inadequate monitoring, and much of the limited information available is of doubtful reliability or is in a format that makes the data difficult to evaluate. Data evaluation, therefore, served chiefly to illustrate the sources and types of data available, but could not reliably establish the nature and magnitude of CE reservoir contaminant problems. Due to data quality and quantity, alternative data evaluation procedures would be expected to produce similar results. Due to unavailability of data on reservoir toxic chemical contaminants in all CE Divisions, the authors could not establish regional patterns of reservoir contamination. However, acidic pH of certain CE reservoir waters due to acid mine discharges and high water salinity showed some regional patterns. A review of the published literature indicated that limited information was available on the loss of sediments from watersheds, sediment transport in streams and rivers, sedimentation in reservoirs, and sediment discharge in reservoir release waters. Research studies were also lacking on the contaminant loadings of reservoirs and release waters. The results of this study also indicate that very little information is available on which to base guidelines for managing reservoir contaminants. Management of temperature levels and dissolved oxygen concentration of reservoir pool and release waters has received a high priority in the past. This points to the need for project-specific research to provide needed information for contaminant management. Based on the results of this study, it is suggested that an assessment of all available data and potential inputs of contaminants to reservoirs be conducted, followed by selected monitoring as necessary. Monitoring for reservoir contaminants should be flexible and be conducted on a project-specific basis because of site-specific reservoir differences. A review of the published literature indicates that although a considerable amount of information is available on the environmental chemistry of most classes of contaminants in sediment-water systems, there remains a need for basic project-specific research on the chemistry and fate of toxic contaminants in reservoir systems. NOTE: This file is large. Allow your browser several minutes to download the file.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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