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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 5, p. 1636-1646
     
    Received: Sept 8, 2009
    Published: Sept, 2010


    * Corresponding author(s): mgezanis@mines.edu
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doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0354

Model Evaluation of Potential Impacts of On-Site Wastewater Systems on Phosphorus in Turkey Creek Watershed

  1. Mengistu Geza *a,
  2. John E. McCraya and
  3. Kyle E. Murrayb
  1. a Environmental Science and Engineering Division, Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois St., Golden CO 80401
    b Dep. of Geological Sciences, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Cir., San Antonio, TX 78249. Assigned to Associate Editor Robert Malone

Abstract

Nutrient loading to surface water systems has traditionally been associated with agricultural sources. Sources such as on-site wastewater systems (OWS) may be of concern especially in rural, nonagricultural watersheds. The impact of various point and nonpoint sources including OWS in Turkey Creek Watershed was evaluated using the Watershed Analysis Risk Management Framework, which was calibrated using 10 yr of observed stream flow and total P concentrations. Doubling the population in the watershed or OWS septic tank effluent P concentration increased mean stream total P concentration by a factor of 1.05. Converting all the OWS to a conventional sewer system with a removal efficiency of 93% at the wastewater treatment plant increased the mean total P concentration at the watershed outlet by a factor of 1.26. Reducing the soil adsorption capacity by 50% increased the mean stream total P concentration by a factor of 3.2. Doubling the initial P concentration increased the mean stream total P concentration by a factor of 1.96. Stream flow and sediment transport also substantially affected stream P concentration. The results suggest that OWS contribution to stream P in this watershed is minimal compared with other factors within the simulated time frame of 10 yr.

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