USGS

Characterizing Water Quality in the North Fork--Fall Creek Hydrologic Unit Area, Tennessee

U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 95-372

by T.Byl, and H.C. Mattraw, Jr.

This report is available as a pdf below


Project History

The North Fork-Fall Creek (NFFC) Hydrologic Unit Area encompasses a watershed located in Bedford County, Middle Tennessee. Land use in the watershed includes agricultural production (poultry, cattle, and equestrian operations), forestry, residential, and commercial developments. This watershed is situated on a karst (limestone) terrain with sinkholes, caves, and conduit-type subsurface flow. The surface streams and ground-water system are well connected through these conduits. Fecal contamination, such as bacteria and nutrient enrichment, is considered the primary impairment of water quality in the NFFC watershed. The fecal waste input results in excessive algae growth (see photo) and poor water quality. Efforts by the agricultural community to improve water quality have been hindered by the lack of information concerning the source of the fecal contamination. Potential sources include residential septic systems, agricultural animals, and wildlife. In 1994 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with several county, State, and Federal agencies, began to characterize the hydrologic conditions in the watershed and to evaluate potential contaminant sources.

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