Relations among Sulfate, Metals, Sediment, and Streamflow Data for a Stream Draining a Coal-Mined Watershed in East-Central Pennsylvania

Cravotta, Charles A. III
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Streamflow and water-quality data for the northern part of Swatara Creek, which drains a 112-km2 area in the Southern Anthracite Field of east-central Pennsylvania, indicate iron, copper, and lead, and to a lesser extent manganese and zinc, are transported with suspended particles during stormflow conditions. During stormflow conditions, concentrations of these constituents typically peak prior to peak stream stage as a result of scour and transport of streambed deposits. In contrast, sulfate is transported mostly as a dissolved ion. Concentrations of sulfate, specific conductance, and pH are inversely related to streamflow, indicating dilution and acidification during stormflow. This effect is attributed to the mixing of poorly buffered stream water having pH 6.0-6.5 with weakly acidic storm runoff having pH 4.0-4.5 and low dissolved solids.
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