The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the city of Oklahoma City, collected water-quality samples from the North Canadian River at the streamflow-gaging station near Harrah, Oklahoma (Harrah station), since 1968, and at an upstream streamflow-gaging station at Britton Road at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Britton Road station), since 1988. Statistical summaries and frequencies of detection of water-quality constituent data from water samples, and summaries of water-quality constituent data from continuous water-quality monitors are described from the start of monitoring at those stations through 2009. Differences in concentrations between stations and time trends for selected constituents were evaluated to determine the effects of: (1) wastewater effluent discharges, (2) changes in land-cover, (3) changes in streamflow, (4) increases in urban development, and (5) other anthropogenic sources of contamination on water quality in the North Canadian River downstream from Oklahoma City. Land-cover changes between 1992 and 2001 in the basin between the Harrah station and Lake Overholser upstream included an increase in developed/barren land-cover and a decrease in pasture/hay land cover. There were no significant trends in median and greater streamflows at either streamflow-gaging station, but there were significant downward trends in lesser streamflows, especially after 1999, which may have been associated with decreases in precipitation between 1999 and 2009 or construction of low-water dams on the river upstream from Oklahoma City in 1999. Concentrations of dissolved chloride, lead, cadmium, and chlordane most frequently exceeded the Criterion Continuous Concentration (a water-quality standard for protection of aquatic life) in water-quality samples collected at both streamflow-gaging stations. Visual trends in annual frequencies of detection were investigated for selected pesticides with frequencies of detection greater than 10 percent in all water samples collected at both streamflow-gaging stations. Annual frequencies of detection of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and bromacil increased with time. Annual frequencies of detection of atrazine, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dichlorprop, and lindane decreased with time. Dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were significantly greater in water samples collected at the Harrah station than at the Britton Road station, whereas specific conductance was greater at the Britton Road station. Concentrations of dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, and fecal coliform bacteria were not significantly different between stations. Daily minimum, mean, and maximum specific conductance collected from continuous water-quality monitors were significantly greater at the Britton Road station than in water samples collected at the Harrah station. Daily minimum, maximum, and diurnal fluctuations of water temperature collected from continuous water-quality monitors were significantly greater at the Harrah station than at the Britton Road station. The daily maximums and diurnal range of dissolved oxygen concentrations were significantly greater in water samples collected at the Britton Road station than at the Harrah station, but daily mean dissolved oxygen concentrations in water at those streamflow-gaging stations were not significantly different. Daily mean and diurnal water temperature ranges increased with time at the Britton Road and Harrah streamflow-gaging stations, whereas daily mean and diurnal specific conductance ranges decreased with time at both streamflow-gaging stations from 1988–2009. Daily minimum dissolved oxygen concentrations collected from continuous water-quality monitors more frequently indicated hypoxic conditions at the Harrah station than at the Britton Road station after 1999. Fecal coliform bacteria counts in water decreased slightly from 1988–2009 at the Britton Road station.
- Digital Object Identifier: 10.3133/sir20115117
- Source: USGS Publications Warehouse (indexId: sir20115117)