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Documentation of models describing relations between continuous real-time and discrete water-quality constituents in the Little Arkansas River, south-central Kansas, 1998–2019

March 21, 2022

Data were collected at two monitoring sites along the Little Arkansas River in south-central Kansas that bracket most of the easternmost part of the Equus Beds aquifer. The data were used as part of the city of Wichita’s aquifer storage and recovery project to evaluate source water quality. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the City of Wichita, has continued to monitor the water quality of these sites through 2019 to update previously published regression-based models using continuously measured physicochemical properties and discretely sampled water-quality constituents of interest. The purpose of this report is to provide an update of the previously published linear regression models that have been used to continuously compute estimates of water-quality constituent concentrations or densities at these two sites. Water-quality constituent model updates include those for dissolved and suspended solids, suspended-sediment concentration, hardness, alkalinity, primary ions (bicarbonate, calcium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate), nutrients (total Kjeldahl nitrogen and total phosphorus), total organic carbon, indicator bacteria (Escherichia coli and fecal coliform bacteria), a trace element (arsenic), and a pesticide (atrazine).

Regression analyses were used to develop surrogate models that related continuously measured physicochemical properties, streamflow, and seasonal components to discretely sampled water-quality constituent concentrations or densities. Specific conductance was an explanatory variable for dissolved solids, primary ions, and atrazine. Turbidity was an explanatory variable for total suspended solids and sediment, nutrients, total organic carbon, and indicator bacteria. Streamflow and water temperature were explanatory variables for dissolved arsenic. Seasonal components were included as explanatory variables for atrazine models. The amount of variance explained by most of the updated models was within 5 percent of previously published models.

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