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Metals in bed sediments of rivers of the Albemarle-Pamlico drainage in North Carolina and Virginia: A comparison of NAWQA and NURE data

Journal Article
By Douglas A. Harned, Michael D. Woodside, Stanley C. Skrobialowski, Peter M. Ruhl, and Silvia A. Terziotti


Abstract

A principal objective of the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program of the U.S. Geological Survey is to examine the occurrence and distribution of inorganic and organic constituents in streams to identify background conditions and sources of these constituents. The NAWQA study includes the drainage areas of four major rivers flowing into Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds in North Carolina. There is some overlap with the 1991-92 NAWQA data collection and that of the 1975-79 U.S. Department of Energy's National Uranium Resource Evaluation (NURE) although the objectives and sampling protocols of the two programs were different. In the NAWQA study, 22 samples were collected and included analysis of 44 trace elements. In the NURE study, approximately 4000 samples were collected in the Albemarle-Pamlico drainage area and analyzed for 42 elements. A comparison of data from NURE sites within the drainage basins for the NAWQA bed-sediment stations can be used to define spacial relations of constituents to land use, geology, and physiographic province, and provides a frame of reference for interpreting the NAWQA sample results. For example, NAWQA samples from Ellerbe Creek near Gorman, N.C., showed particularly high copper, lead, and chromium concentrations (53, 94, and 100 micrograms per gram respectively) compared to median regional NURE values of 6, less than 10, and 7 micrograms per gram respec- tively. These elevated values may reflect urban development and wastewater discharges in Ellerbe Creek. The Trent River showed the highest NAWQA concentrations for chromium (110 micrograms per gram), which was in the 99th percentile of NURE values, and zinc (24 micrograms per gram) which was in the 60th NURE percentile.


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North Carolina Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
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Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
(919) 571-4000
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North Carolina Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3916 Sunset Ridge Road
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
(919) 571-4037
E-mail
U.S. Geological Survey
Information Services
Box 25286, Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
 
1-888-ASK USGS

Citation:

Harned, D.A., Woodside, Michael D., Skrobialowski, Stanley C., Ruhl, Peter M., and Terziotti, Silvia A., Metals in bed sediments of rivers of the Albemarle-Pamlico drainage in North Carolina and Virginia: A comparison of NAWQA and NURE data: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs,1995 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 6-9, no. 41616, p. A-106.

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