Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Water-quality assessment of the upper Illinois River Basin in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin: Major and trace elements in water, sediment, and biota, 1978-90

June 1, 1996

The distribution of 22 major and trace elements was examined in water, sediment, and biota in the upper Illinois River Basin in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin as part of a pilot National Water-Quality Assessment project done by the U.S. Geological Survey from 1987 through 1990. The 22 elements are aluminum, antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorus, selenium, silver, strontium, vanadium, and zinc.

Concentrations of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) priority pollutants among the 22 elements were elevated in the Chicago area in all three aquatic components (water, sediment, and biota). Further, some of the priority pollutants also were found at elevated concentrations in biota in agricultural areas in the basin. Cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, mercury, silver, and zinc concentrations in water exceeded USEPA acute or chronic water-quality criteria at several sites in the Chicago area. Correlations among concentrations of elements in water, sediment, and biota were found, but the correlation analysis was hindered by the large proportion of observations less than the minimum reporting level in water. Those sites where water-quality criteria were sometimes exceeded were not always the same sites where concentrations in biota were the largest. This relation indicates that accumulation of these pollutants in biota is confounded by complex geochemical and biological processes that differ throughout the upper Illinois River Basin.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1995
Title Water-quality assessment of the upper Illinois River Basin in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin: Major and trace elements in water, sediment, and biota, 1978-90
DOI 10.3133/wri954045
Authors Faith A. Fitzpatrick, Barbara C. Scudder Eikenberry, J. Kent Crawford, Arthur R. Schmidt, Jennifer B. Sieverling
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 95-4045
Index ID wri954045
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization