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Potomac River Flood, Water Quality Measurements Scheduled in Washington on Monday
Released: 9/9/1996

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Donovan Kelly 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4460

Measurements of the volume and rate of flows of the flooding Potomac River will be made on the 14th St. Bridge beginning at about 10:30 a.m. Monday (Sept. 9, 1996) by the U.S. Geological Survey. Measuring efforts by the USGS using special cranes and weights will continue for several hours.

USGS scientists will also be collecting a continuous series of water quality samples for later analyses from the Chain Bridge, beginning at about noon and continuing for several hours. The scientists will later analyze the samples for a number of parameters, including sediment, nutrients such as nitrogen, and chemicals such as the agricultural herbicide atrazine.

According to preliminary measurements by the USGS, the Potomac peaked at Little Falls, near Washington, D.C., at about midnight with a discharge of about 313,000 cubic feet per second (202 billion gallons a day). Such a flow is equivalent to about a 20-year flood at this point, or one that has about a 5 percent probability in any given year. By comparison, the peak of the January 1996 flood produced a flow of 347,000 cfs ( 224 billion gallons a day), equivalent to a 30-year flood.

* * * USGS * * *

Note to Editors: Updated floodflow information for the Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C. , areas will be available from the USGS district offices, Towson, MD (410-512-4801-ext. 4859) and Richmond, Va. (804-278-4750-ext. 227). Current flow information for all states is also posted on the World Wide Web: http://h2o.usgs.gov/.

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