Departmental Reports


Title:

EFFECTS OF HEATED EFFLUENT FROM THE MONSANTO
TEXTILE COMPANY PLANT, DECATUR, ALABAMA, UPON
THE AQUATIC LIFE IN TIlE BAKER CHEEK EMBAYMENT ON
WHEELER LAKE



Author(s):

Lawrence, J, D. Rouse, C. Turner and W. Dumas



Date: 1973



Funding Agency: State of Alabama



Keywords: effluent, monsanto textile, aquatic, water quality, limnology, fishes, wheeler, reservoir



Category: Domestic Funded Research Report



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Summary/Recommendations/Objectives:

Between June and mid-November, 1972, personnel from the Department
of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultl1res of Auburn University studied the effects of
heated water effluent on aquatic life in the outfall areas of Monsanto Chemical
Company's plant at Decatur, Alabama. The results of this study are summarized
below.

Water temperatures in the outfall effluent never exceeded 34

 

0 C, which was


the maximal water temperature recorded for the upper end of Baker Creek embayment.
Using mainstream temperatures (Ts) as the standard, outfall temperatures
averaged Ts

 

+ 2.70 C during the study periods.


The dissolved oxygen concentrations encountered in the mainstream portion
of Wheeler Lake at river mile 301. 7 ranged from 6.3 to 4.5 ppm at the surface
and from 5.5 to 4.5 ppm at 5-foot depth. The lowest dissolved oxygen concentration
encountered in effluent waters from Monsanto's plant was 4.2 ppm, but on most
occasions the dissolved o}'ygen concentrations in the effluent columns at 5-foot
depth were equal to or greater than those in mainstream or adjacent embayment
waters.

 

In the upper end of Baker Creek embayment the dissolved oxygen


concentration ranged from 10.2 to 7.5 ppm on the surface and from 5.5 to
3.5 ppm at 5-foot depth.
In Mallard Creek embayment water temperatures were slightly lower
(30

 

0 C maXimum) and dissolved o:>'ygen concentrations were less variable (8.5 to


5.5) than those encountered at Baker Creek. TIlese more moderate conditions
resulted partly from a less abundant growth of phytoplank1:on and partly from
greater wind action in the Mallard Creek area.

Game fish (bass, bream, and crappie) were more abundant at
Mallard Creek (averaging approximately 50 per cent of fish observed
by electrofishing) than they were at Baker Creek (from 7.4 to 26.6 per cent
of total fish observed). Information collected by this study shows that
during hot weather game fish were practically absent from the waters
adjacent to outfalls 2 and 3, and were not too abundant near outfall

 

l.


On the other hand, the strong currents of water created by these outfalls
were attractive to such species as buffalo and rec1borse suckers. No
information gathered by this study would indicate that the heat factor of
these effluent waters was responsible for the dearth of game fish within
their zone of influeuce. TI,e 26.6 per cent of game fish sighted in the
upper third of Baker Creek embayment is normal for large impoundment
fish populations in shallow water areas.
It

 

might be mentioned that outfalls 2 and 3 were immediately


adjacent to the Tennessee River and were subjected to river conditions
more than impoundment conditions. This area lacked most of the habitat
characteristics that would be considered desirable for high fish productiou.
Thus, the occupancy of this habitat by river species of fish rather than game
species was no surprise.
Both the diversity of genera and the quantity of individual macroinvertebrates,
or fish-food organisms, found in Mallard Creek embayment
were approximately 50 per cent greater than in the upper end of the Baker
Creek embayment. Within the outfall areas only two genera and a few
individuals were ever collected during a sampling period.

 

 

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