KWRRI Research Reports


Because interactions between ground water and tributaries may influence contaminant loading to rivers, we delineated seepage along Little Bayou and Bayou Creeks in McCracken County, Kentucky, during a two-year period. From the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, on the divide between the creeks, trichloroethene and technetium-99 plumes extend several km toward the Ohio River. Gaining conditions occur where the creeks are incised into coarse sediments in the river's flood plain. Such conditions were marked by upward hydraulic gradients within the bed; maximum specific discharge (q) > 0.24 m d-1; relatively narrow ranges of stream, piezometer, and bed temperatures; relatively cool bed and bank temperatures in summer and early autumn; detections of trace solutes in stream water; and observations of springs, boils, and seeps. Evidence of losing or no-net-discharge conditions included downward or lateral hydraulic gradients; minimal q values (indicative of stream-water flow through the bed); and relatively broad annual ranges of stream and piezometer temperatures. Mixing calculations using δ18O and Cl- support inferences about gaining and losing reaches. Seepage rates and directions changed during dry periods in summer and early autumn and following Ohio River flooding in spring. Discharge of uncontaminated ground water dilutes contaminants in Little Bayou Creek.

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The work on which this report is based was supported in part by the Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. as authorized by the Water Resources Research Act as amended in 1996 by P.L. 104-147.

The work upon which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the United States Department of the Interior, Washington, DC, as authorized by the Water Resources Research Act of P.L. 101-397.