KWRRI Research Reports


A 6-week study was made in the summer of 1971 as an initial effort to determine the extent of pollution that the three sewage disposal plants in Jessamine County, Kentucky, are contributing to its streams. With the rapid population increase in Lexington and nearby municipalities, this study should furnish a basis of comparison for future investigations. Eighteen collecting stations were established in riffle areas of Hickman and Jessamine Creeks, and coliform bacteria, macro-invertebrate populations, fish populations and chemical water quality of each riffle area were studied.

Hickman Creek's flow was augmented by approximately 3,100,000 gallons/day (11,735 -m3/day) from one of the City of Lexington's sewage disposal plants, and Jessamine Creek's flow by 500,000 gallons/day (1,893 m3/day) from the cities of Nicholasville and Wilmore. The Lexington and Wilmore facilities were greatly overloaded.

Chemical analyses were directed toward finding out the fluctuations of phosphates, sulfates, and nitrates. Water disappearing through limestone faults posed investigational problems. Hickman Creek showed evidences of pollution for a greater distance downstream than did Jessamine. Diversity of clean water indicator organisms was higher in lower Jessamine than in lower Hickman; this was particularly true for darters (Etheostoma) and stoneflies (Plecoptera). Jessamine Creek was also supporting limited game fishing.

Publication Date


Report Number


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

The printing of this report was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Research and Technology, U. S. Department of the Interior, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.