Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Responses of macroinvertebrate community metrics to a wastewater discharge in the Upper Blue River of Kansas and Missouri, USA

October 20, 2015

The Blue River Main wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) discharges into the upper Blue River (725 km2), and is recently upgraded to implement biological nutrient removal. We measured biotic condition upstream and downstream of the discharge utilizing the macroinvertebrate protocol developed for Kansas streams. We examined responses of 34 metrics to determine the best indicators for discriminating site differences and for predicting biological condition. Significant differences between sites upstream and downstream of the discharge were identified for 15 metrics in April and 12 metrics in August. Upstream biotic condition scores were significantly greater than scores at both downstream sites in April (p = 0.02), and in August the most downstream site was classified as non-biologically supporting. Thirteen EPT taxa (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera) considered intolerant of degraded stream quality were absent at one or both downstream sites. Increases in tolerance metrics and filtering macroinvertebrates, and a decline in ratio of scrapers to filterers all indicated effects of increased nutrient enrichment. Stepwise regressions identified several significant models containing a suite of metrics with low redundancy (R2 = 0.90 - 0.99). Based on the rapid decline in biological condition downstream of the discharge, the level of nutrient removal resulting from the facility upgrade (10% - 20%) was not enough to mitigate negative effects on macroinvertebrate communities.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Responses of macroinvertebrate community metrics to a wastewater discharge in the Upper Blue River of Kansas and Missouri, USA
DOI 10.4236/jwarp.2015.715098
Authors Barry C. Poulton, Jennifer L. Graham, Teresa J. Rasmussen, Mandy L. Stone
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Water Resource and Protection
Series Number
Index ID 70160395
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center