2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


ADAMS, Chris, JACKSON, Jason and HOLLABAUGH, Curtis L., Geosciences, State Univ of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, chollaba@westga.edu

Wolf Creek, located in Carroll and Douglas Counties, Georgia, is currently listed as not supporting its designated usage as a fishing stream due to fecal coliform bacteria violations. Wolf Creek flows across the Piedmont of west Georgia where major land uses are forest (silvicultural) and agriculture (livestock grazing and poultry). In the upstream areas of Douglas County farms and forest are being converted into residential developments. This degraded stream will now be further impacted by the recent construction of a wastewater spray field in Douglas County. The spray field is operated by the South Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, which treats 500,000 gallons per day. In a similar study on a nearby waterway, the Little Tallapoosa River in Carroll County, water quality there was slightly affected, with an increase in nitrates and a decrease in dissolved oxygen downstream from the spray field application site. However, the impacts of the spray field were much more preferable than the anticipated impacts that would have resulted had the wastewater been discharged directly into the stream. In another study (Martin and Hollabaugh, 2002) on the same spray field application site, total phosphorus was found to increase immediately downstream of the spray field, though it was diluted farther downstream, ammonia concentrations increased 30% and nitrate concentrations increased 50% downstream from the spray field on the Little Tallapoosa River. Data collected on Wolf Creek during the West Georgia Watershed Assessment of 2001 indicate that present land usage in the watershed results in higher than average turbidity (average 33, maximum 320 NTU), total phosphorus (average 0.6, maximum 2.9 mg/L), and fecal coliform bacteria (average 140, maximum 640 col./100ml).

Water quality was measured at sites upstream and downstream of the spray field facility on Wolf Creek in order to better quantify its impact. Samples were taken on a weekly basis beginning in July 2002, and nine water quality parameters measured were pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity, water temperature, turbidity, fecal coliform bacteria, ammonia-N, nitrite-nitrate-N, and total phosphorus. As the spray application comes on line it is expected that the spray field will result in increased nitrate, ammonia, phosphorus, and specific conductivity.