Arkansas River Water Quality
One of the major objectives of the Upper Arkansas River Corridor Study was to document the fate and effects of contaminated Arkansas River flows on the aquifers in the river valley. In order to achieve this objective, data on the spatial and temporal variations in the river water quality were necessary. Spatial variations in the river water quality would result in spatial differences in the ground-water contamination. Temporal variations in river water quality would cause differences in the quality of the recharge over time at a particular location. Therefore, the design of the study included investigation of existing data and collection of new data on the river water chemistry.
The KGS collected samples from the Arkansas River to characterize different types of flow events during the study. For example, a photograph shows sampling during the high river flow at the Charleston bridge in northwest Gray County on August 8, 1995. Other state and local agencies, including the Division of Water Resources (DWR) of the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA), Groundwater Management District No. 3, Southwest Kansas Local Environmental Planning Group, Division of Plant Health of the KDA, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment also collected river water samples for the study in cooperation with the KGS for the period during and soon after the high-flow event of the summer of 1995. Starting in 1997, the DWR began a cooperative program with the KGS for periodic collection of Arkansas River waters at selected sites. The KGS analyzed the samples collected in its laboratories in Lawrence, Kansas.
Picture 1--Water sampling during high river flow at Charleston bridge, northwest Gray County.
The KGS analyzed the existing and new data to determine the chemical characteristics, the spatial and temporal variations in the chemistry, the sources of salinity, and the usability of Arkansas River water in southwest Kansas. The results are in the report Water Quality of the Arkansas River in Southwest Kansas in this web site.