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Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5178

Prepared in cooperation with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Stream-Water and Groundwater Quality in and near the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Area, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, 2012–13

By Carol J. Becker

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.83 MB)Abstract

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation needs to characterize their existing surface-water and groundwater resources in and near their tribal jurisdictional area to complete a water-resource management plan. Water resources in this area include surface water from the North Canadian and Little Rivers and groundwater from the terrace and alluvial aquifers and underlying bedrock aquifers. To assist in this effort, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, collected water-quality samples at 4 sites on 3 streams and from 30 wells during 2012 and 2013 in and near the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Area in central Oklahoma. Stream samples were collected eight times on the North Canadian River at the upstream USGS streamflow-gaging station North Canadian River near Harrah, Okla. (07241550); at the downstream USGS streamflow-gaging station North Canadian River at Shawnee, Okla. (07241800); and on the Little River at the USGS streamflow-gaging station Little River near Tecumseh, Okla., (07230500). Stream samples also were collected three times at an ungaged site, Deer Creek near McLoud, Okla. (07241590). Water properties were measured, and water samples were analyzed for concentrations of major ions, nutrients, trace elements, counts of fecal-indicator bacteria, and 69 organic compounds.

The highest concentrations of dissolved solids and chlorides were measured in stream-water samples collected at the Little River near Tecumseh station. The Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) for dissolved solids in drinking water of 500 milligrams per liter (mg/L) was exceeded in 7 of 8 stream-water samples, with a median concentration of 844 mg/L at that station. The 250-mg/L SMCL for chloride was exceeded in 5 of the 8 stream-water samples collected at that station.

Median concentrations of total dissolved nitrogen were about an order of magnitude higher in stream-water samples collected at the two stations on the North Canadian River than concentrations in stream-water samples collected at the Little River near Tecumseh station and the Deer Creek site. Median concentrations of total dissolved nitrogen were 4.36 and 2.89 mg/L in stream-water samples collected at the two North Canadian River stations, 0.35 mg/L in stream-water samples collected at the Little River near Tecumseh station, and 0.76 mg/L in stream-water samples collected at the Deer Creek site.

Similar to nitrogen, median concentrations of total dissolved phosphorus were higher by about two orders of magnitude in stream-water samples collected at the two stations on the North Canadian River than concentrations in stream-water samples collected at the Little River near Tecumseh station and the Deer Creek site. Median concentrations of total dissolved phosphorus were 1.05 and 0.805 mg/L in stream-water samples collected at the two North Canadian River stations, 0.007 mg/L in stream-water samples collected at the Little River near Tecumseh station, and 0.032 mg/L from the Deer Creek site. Dissolved concentrations of total nitrogen, nitrate-nitrogen, orthophosphorus, and total phosphorus were highest in stream-water samples collected at the two North Canadian River stations at low streamflows, indicating that wastewater effluent may have been a notable source of these nutrients.

Concentrations of most trace elements increased with increasing streamflow in stream-water samples collected at the two North Canadian River stations, indicating that most trace elements are washed into the river by runoff from the land surface or resuspended from streambed sediments. In general, most trace-element concentrations were below respective Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for public drinking-water supplies, except for one stream-water sample with an arsenic concentration of 10.1 micrograms per liter (µg/L) collected from the North Canadian River and one stream-water sample with a barium concentration of 2,690 µg/L collected from the Little River. At least one stream-water sample from each of the four stream sites sampled in this study contained a lead concentration exceeding the SMCL of 15 µg/L. All of these samples were collected during high streamflows.

A greater number of organic compounds were detected in stream-water samples collected at the two stations on the North Canadian River than in stream-water samples collected at the Tecumseh station and Deer Creek site. In the 8 stream-water samples collected at the upstream Harrah station, 213 detections of organic compounds were measured, whereas in 8 samples collected at the downstream Shawnee station, 203 detections of organic compounds were measured. In contrast, 59 detections of organic compounds were measured in the 8 stream-water samples collected at the Tecumseh station, and 25 detections of organic compounds were measured in the 3 stream-water samples collected at the Deer Creek site; however, the 8 detections of 7 organic compounds in the 2 equipment-blank samples is problematic for evaluating these data, especially for the Deer Creek and Little River samples because of the comparatively low detection frequency and should be taken into consideration when evaluating these results.

Groundwater samples also were collected once from 30 wells producing water from the Garber-Wellington aquifer; Admire, Chase, and Council Grove Groups; the Vanoss Formation; and the terrace and alluvial aquifers along the North Canadian River. Water properties were measured, and samples were analyzed for concentrations of major ions, nutrients, trace elements, and selected radionuclides in groundwater. Of 30 wells sampled for this study, 26 were completed in bedrock aquifers, and 4 were completed in terrace and alluvial aquifers. In general, groundwater in the study area is very hard, with a median concentration of 180 mg/L as calcium carbonate in water samples collected from the 30 wells. Concentrations of sulfate exceeded the 250-mg/L SMCL in two groundwater samples, and dissolved solids concentrations exceeded the 500-mg/L SMCL in nine groundwater samples. Trace-element concentrations did not exceed respective MCLs in the 30 groundwater samples collected for this study.

Concentrations of the radionuclide uranium ranged from 0.03 to 79.5 µg/L, with a median concentration of 1.9 µg/L in the 30 groundwater samples collected. Two of the groundwater samples collected for this study had uranium concentrations exceeding the MCL of 30 µg/L, with concentrations of 79.5 and 31.1 µg/L. Generally, uranium concentrations were highest in water samples collected from wells completed in the Wellington Formation and the Chase, Council Grove, and Admire Groups in the southern and eastern parts of the study area.

First posted November 14, 2014

For additional information contact:
Director, Oklahoma Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
202 NW 66th, Bldg 7
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
http://ok.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Becker, C.J., 2014, Stream-water and groundwater quality in and near the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Jurisdictional Area, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, 2012–13: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5178, 102 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20145178.

ISSN 2328-031X (print)

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)



Contents

Acknowledgments

Abstract

Introduction

Methods

Stream-Water Quality

Groundwater Quality

Summary

References Cited

Appendixes 1–9


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