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Variability of Volatile Organic Compound Concentration Detected in Karst Springs in Middle Tennessee

Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Superfund, is studying selected contaminated springs in karst areas of Middle Tennessee to evaluate sampling strategies for volatile organic compounds. Water-quality signatures for the springs were determined by continuously monitoring selected water-quality properties through one complete hydrologic cycle. High-frequency flow-controlled sampling was used to characterize chlorinated solvent concentrations.

The results indicate that discharge from and contaminant concentrations in Wilson Spring near Lewisburg, Tennessee, are flashy as indicated by rapid fluctuations in water quality and discharge in response to storm events. During one storm event, chloroform concentrations in discharge from this spring increased to 33 milligrams per liter, which represents a 60-fold increase over the concentration before the storm. The increased chloroform concentrations were correlated with a decrease in specific conductance and peak discharge. The maximum chloroform concentrations detected during this storm, represents a sixfold increase over the maximum concentrations measured at any other time during the study period. Continuous water-quality data and trichloethylene concentrations at Big Spring at Rutledge Falls show little variation. Results from the study demonstrate the need to develop site-specific sampling strategies for karst springs. Results also indicate that evaluating water-quality signatures of karst springs is helpful in designing a site-specific sampling strategy

  Friday, 13-Apr-01 14:34:11 CST

This abstract can be cited as follows:

Farmer, J.J., and Williams, S.D., 2001, Variability of volatile organic compound concentrations detected in karst springs in Middle Tennessee [abs.], in Tennessee Water Resources Symposium, 11th, Burns, Tenn., 2001, Proceedings: Tennessee Section of the American Water Resources Association, p. 2A-5.


U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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