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LOCAL News :: Environment : Kansas City

Blue River Watershed Suffering From Pollution

A recent USGS study found significant amounts of pollution in the Blue River watershed.

The Blue River basin, which includes Indian Creek, is the primary watershed for the Kansas City area after the Missouri and Kansas rivers. The watershed covers around half of the Kansas City metro area south of the Missouri River, including most of eastern and southern Kansas City, Raytown, and parts of eastern Johnson County in Kansas. A recent article from New Standard News reports that a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that significant pollution and toxic contamination affect the the Blue River watershed.

The six year study by the USGS analyzed the water quality at several locations along the Blue River, Brush Creek, Indian Creek, Tomahawk Creek and at a control site on the South Grand River in Cass County, Missouri. The study sampled water from upstream locations and locations downstream from sewage treatment plants.

The study found significant levels of pollution, toxics and contamination in all streams. Contamination was compounded by the discharges from waste treatment facilities, especially the joint sewage/storm system that is used by the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The lower portions of the creeks and rivers studied suffer from a variety of pollution factors, including human and dog waste (Esherichia coli bacteria) that is significant during the warm months. The study found significant quantities of pharmaceuticals in water samples tested, including traces of OTC (over the counter) drugs. Brush Creek suffers from algal blooms and eutrophication, due to its system of pools and the way they collect nutrients washed downstream during storms.

Related Links

  • Blue River Watershed Association – http://www.brwa.net/
  • Water-Quality and Biologic Data for the Blue River Basin, Kansas City
  • Metropolitan Area, Missouri and Kansas, October 2000 to October 2004 - http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/2005/127/
  • Bridging The Gap - http://www.bridgingthegap.org
  • The Heartland All Species Project - http://www.allspecies.org/
  • U.S. Geological Survey - http://www.usgs.gov/
 
 

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