Kansas Real-Time Water Quality

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Study Information

The objectives of this study were to implement a program for monitoring water-quality constituents regulated by TMDLs in Johnson County streams and lakes, and to evaluate the utility of the monitoring data in assessing water-quality improvements. Discrete water-quality samples were collected at 25 stream sites and 2 lake sites and were analyzed for nutrients, Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, total suspended solids (TSS), and suspended-sediment concentration. At Mill Creek at Johnson Drive in Shawnee, Kans., a continuous, real-time multiparameter sonde, and a continuous, real-time nitrate sensor were deployed to evaluate water-quality variability and pollutant loading. At Mill Creek at Johnson Drive, ordinary least squares regression analysis was used to relate continuous (15-minute) water-quality sensor measurements to discretely sampled constituent concentrations. Surrogate regression models that define relations between in situ continuously measured parameters and laboratory-analyzed discrete data make possible continuous real-time estimates of particular constituents of interest. Models for total nitrogen, E. coli, TSS, and suspended sediment were developed to compute continuous estimates of constituent concentrations and loads and to compare variability documented using continuous data to variability documented using discrete data. This project was made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Johnson County Stormwater Management Program.

Previous Study Information

The objectives of this study are to

Water samples are being collected from more than 40 stream locations during base-flow and storm-flow conditions. In addition to analysis for bacteria, nutrients, sediment, and pesticides, samples are being analyzed for compounds associated with wastewater such as caffeine, nicotine, hormones, pharmaceuticals, and detergents. Sediment samples are being collected and analyzed for the same compounds, and benthic macroinvertebrates are being analyzed at selected locations.

In addition, continuous water-quality monitors have been installed to provide continuous measurements of specific conductance, pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. Regression models are being developed to provide continuous estimates of river chemical concentrations based on the the relation between laboratory-analyzed samples and instream sensor measurements. The information will be used to evaluate loading characteristics. The continuous data are also used to immediately recognize changes in water-quality conditions.

This project is made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Johnson County Stormwater Management Program.

For Additional Information

Please contact:

Teresa Rasmussen
1217 Biltmore Dr., Lawrence, KS 66049
Tel: (785)832-3576, Fax: (785)832-3500
E-mail: rasmuss@usgs.gov