The Effect of Storms on Stream Water Quality in a Karst Landscape
Blood, Elizabeth R.
Phillips, J. Scott
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A need exists to develop relationships between hydrologic characteristics and water quality for Coastal Plains streams and the fundamental hydrographic/water chemistry responses to storms in karst regions. Nine storms and resultant runoff were sampled in Ichawaynochaway Creek in southwest Georgia to quantify these relationships. Stream hydrologic response varied with seasonal antecedent conditions, precipitation amount, and duration. Both the intensity of a storm and the quantity of water generated resulted in variable non-point source runoff and/or dilution of baseflow conditions. Increases in dissolved concentrations were typically seen for ammonium, orthophosphate, sulfate, potassium, and dissolved organic carbon. Alterations were generally consistent with floodplain inundation rather than erosive surface runoff from agricultural land. Changes in chemistry were affected by the base flow water quantity and quality, timing of source waters, and biological activity. Decreases in concentration were typically seen for alkalinity, pH, conductivity, nitrate, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.