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Kansas Water Science Center

Analysis of Lake-Bottom Sediment to Estimate Historical Nonpoint-Source Phosphorus Loads

By K.E. Juracek

Abstract

Bottom sediment in Hillsdale Lake, Kansas, was analyzed to estimate the annual load of total phosphorus deposited in the lake from nonpoint sources. Topographic, bathymetric, and sediment-core data were used to estimate the total mass of phosphorus in the lake-bottom sediment. Available streamflow and water-quality data were used to compute the mean annual mass of phosphorus (dissolved plus suspended) exiting the lake. The mean annual load of phosphorus added to the lake from point sources was estimated from previous studies. A simple mass balance then was used to compute the mean annual load of phosphorus from nonpoint sources. The total mass of phosphorus in the lake-bottom sediment was estimated to be 924,000 kg, with a mean annual load of 62,000 kg. The mean annual mass of phosphorus exiting in the lake outflow was estimated to be about 8,000 kg. The mean annual loads of phosphorus added to the lake from point and nonpoint sources were estimated to be 5,000 and 65,000 kg, respectively. Thus, the contribution to the total mean annual phosphorus load in Hillsdale Lake is about 7 percent from point sources and about 93 percent from nonpoint sources.

( KEY TERMS: water quality; nonpoint source pollution; phosphorus; sediment; Hillsdale Lake, Kansas.)

Additional information on Reservoir Sediment Studies in Kansas can be found at: http://ks.water.usgs.gov/pages/reservoir-sediment

Juracek, K.E. , 1998, Analysis of lake-bottom sediment to estimate nonpoint-source phosphorus loads: Journal of the American Water Resources Association, v. 34, no. 6, p. 1449-1463.

To request a paper copy of this journal article, email: kjuracek@usgs.gov