USGS - science for a changing world

Kansas Water Science Center

Jump to content

Jump back to navigation
Contact Information:
Jennifer Graham
U.S. Geological Survey
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, Kansas 66049
This project is conducted in cooperation with:
City of Olathe Kansas Water Office City of Lawrence City of Topeka Johnson County Water One

Real-Time Water-Quality Notification System for Drinking-Water Suppliers Using the Kansas River as a Source Water Supply

Period of Project: July 2012-June 2017

Study Overview

Cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) may produce toxins and taste-and-odor compounds that cause substantial economic and public health concerns, and are of particular interest in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers that are used for drinking-water supply. The Kansas River is a primary source of drinking water for about 800,000 people in northeastern Kansas. The sources, frequency of occurrence, and causes of cyanobacteria and associated toxins and taste-and-odor compounds in the Kansas River have not been fully characterized. The development of an advance notification system of changing water-quality conditions and cyanotoxin and taste-and-odor occurrences will allow drinking-water treatment facilities time to develop and implement adequate treatment strategies.


The specific objectives of this proposed work are to: 1) provide an advanced real-time notification system with sufficient lead time to alert water suppliers that use the Kansas River as a source-water supply of changing water-quality conditions that may affect treatment processes or cause cyanotoxin and/or taste-and-odor events and 2) characterize the sources, frequency of occurrence, and potential causes, including fate and transport from upstream reservoirs, of cyanobacteria and associated toxins and taste-and-odor compounds in the Kansas River. These objectives will be accomplished by:

1. Installation, operation, and maintenance of real-time water-quality monitors at 2 existing USGS streamflow-gaging sites on the Kansas River.

2. Routine sample collection at these 2 sites over the range of hydrologic conditions.

3. Development of statistical relations between collected samples and sensor values to provide real-time estimates of chemical concentrations for a number of constituents, including cyanotoxins and taste-and-odor compounds.

NAWQA Monitoring Network:

The Kansas River at De Soto is included in a national stream monitoring network as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. This site was added to the network late in 2012 when NAWQA began the third decade (Cycle 3) of data collection and scientific studies. Goals for the program are to assess the Nation’s water quality and how it has changed over time, evaluate how human and natural factors affect water quality, determine the effects of key stressors (contaminants, nutrients, sediment, and streamflow alteration) on aquatic ecosystems, and predict the effects of human and natural factors on water quality and ecosystems. Additional information about the NAWQA program can be found at

Photos of Interest

Kansas River at Wamego, August 2012
Kansas River at Wamego, August 2012
Kansas River at De Soto, August 2012
Kansas River at De Soto, August 2012
Site Map


2016 2012
USGS Home Water Resources Biology Geography Geology Geospatial

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information:
Page Last Modified: 2013-10-29 15:09:28 CDT