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Quality of surface-water supplies in the Triangle area of North Carolina, water year 2009

October 2, 2014

Surface-water supplies are important sources of drinking water for residents in the Triangle area of North Carolina, which is located within the upper Cape Fear and Neuse River Basins. Since 1988, the U.S. Geological Survey and a consortium of governments have tracked water-quality conditions and trends in several of the area’s water-supply lakes and streams. This report summarizes data collected through this cooperative effort, known as the Triangle Area Water Supply Monitoring Project, during October 2008 through September 2009. Major findings for this period include:

- Annual precipitation was approximately 20 percent below the long-term mean (average) annual precipitation.

- Streamflow was below the long-term mean at the 10 project streamgages during most of the year.

- More than 7,000 individual measurements of water quality were made at a total of 26 sites—15 in the Neuse River Basin and 11 in the Cape Fear River Basin. Forty-seven water-quality properties and constituents were measured.

- All observations met North Carolina water-quality standards for water temperature, pH, hardness, chloride, fluoride, sulfate, nitrate, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, and selenium.

- North Carolina water-quality standards were exceeded one or more times for dissolved oxygen, dissolved oxygen percent saturation, chlorophyll a, mercury, copper, iron, manganese, silver, and zinc. Exceedances occurred at 23 sites—13 in the Neuse River Basin and 10 in the Cape Fear River Basin.

- Stream samples collected during storm events contained elevated concentrations of 18 water-quality constituents compared to samples collected during non-storm events.

- Concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus were within ranges observed during previous years.

- Five reservoirs had chlorophyll a concentrations in excess of 40 micrograms per liter at least once during 2009: Little River Reservoir, Falls Lake, Cane Creek Reservoir, University Lake, and Jordan Lake.

Publication Year 2014
Title Quality of surface-water supplies in the Triangle area of North Carolina, water year 2009
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141192
Authors C. A. Pfeifle, M. J. Giorgino, R. B. Rasmussen
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2014-1192
Index ID ofr20141192
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization South Atlantic Water Science Center