Journal of Environmental Hydrology
ISSN 1058-3912

Electronic Journal of the International Association for Environmental Hydrology

JEH Volume 16 (2008), Paper 8    Posted February 29, 2008

Richard C. Lee1
Christine W. Li2
Peter Li3
John J. Harwood3
S. Bradley Cook 3

1Cookeville High School, Cookeville, TN
2Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
3Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN

Three watersheds in the Cookeville, Tennessee area were selected to conduct a chemical and biological assessment of watershed water quality. Streams of 1st, 2nd and 3rd order were chosen to compare the effect of urbanization. Chloride, nitrate, sulfate, and phosphate were determined in water samples, and macroinvertebrate samples were collected. Results show higher levels of dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, nitrate and chloride were found in urban areas. Sulfate was found in all 1st order streams suggesting that this naturally occurring element may play a role in water quality. Sulfate is probably derived from from geologic sources. Analysis of variance showed that three watersheds had different water quality in terms of dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chloride and nitrate. The biotic index score (BIS), integrated from individual macroinvertebrate BIS numbers, shows a negative correlation with turbidity, nitrate, chloride and a positive correlation with dissolved oxygen. Compared to EPA nutrient regional measurements, turbidity, sulfate, nitrogen, and conductivity found in the watersheds are much higher suggesting that water quality does not meet current ambient water quality standards. Percent oligochaetes and chironomids (%OC) and percent EPT were found to have positive and negative correlation respectively with percent urban area.

Reference: Lee, R.C., C.W. Li, P. Li, J.J. Harwood, and S.B. Cook. 2008. Urbanization and water quality in rural Tennessee, USA. Journal of Environmental Hydrology, Vol. 16, Paper 8.
Peter Li
Professor, Earth Sciences
Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, Tennessee 38505


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