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What a gorgeous river...


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That sure looks like the Oakwood Illinois sewage treatment plant outfall.

If its not they are twins down to the pipe and the gravel bar.

 

The first time I ran across "the green water" I took a sample and was going to report it until I looked at the area on Google Earth and saw the water retention ponds above the bluff. I was suprised to see a number of minnows swimming around in the stuff without any obvious stress.

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That's what I had assumed, Steve.

 

The IEPA numbers for the Salt Fork are a great education in how a river cleans itself. The Saline Branch receives treated waste from Urbana (up to and above 2 ppm total phosphorus). That stream has a closed canopy and a high gradient so most of that nutrient ends up getting dumped into the Salt Fork where the Saline Branch enters it at St. Joseph. Over several river miles below St. Joseph, the nutrients from the waste plant are gradually absorbed into the ecosystem. By the time the Salt Fork reaches Homer Lake (a 15 minute drive west of Urbana), it's quite clean for a river in this area. Then it meets the green water here and the numbers go back up again.

 

Don't let anyone fool you. Sewage treatment plants have done much to improve water quality in the US, but they haven't solved all the problems that are out there. Many of the smaller plants struggle to function properly and the large plants are massive sources of soluble P and N that dwarf anything else on the river during stable flows.

 

And I can tell you, having been involved in that research, that the IEPA is on the verge of accepting 0.075 ppm as a phosphorus standard for the state (and that won't even be enforced in most places). Experiments we did showed that concentration of phosphorus produces the peak levels of attached algae growth in streams.

 

How about them apples?

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I've seen this kind of discharge from a drain on a stream I frequent. It was draining from a large pond kept for recreation on a farm. Caught many fish in the stuff and the area around the drain is stacked with fish of all species.

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Fish of all species? Really?

 

Are you saying you think the effect of all that extra nutrient on that stream is positive?

 

 

I'm saying I don't know why it was coming out of a recreation pond. The stream has been so low and mostly currentless. The hole has both shade and depth and is 3/4th's above the outflow. I did catch multiple LMB in the green outflow as it ran down the right side of the stream for 40 yards before disperssing. It looked more like green tinted water than algae muck.

 

I was set to call IDNR when I walked up there to take a look. Just a large pond mostly in direct sunlight water pours out of it into the creek. It didn't appear to have much algae on it. I thought it was going to be runoff from a farm field.

 

Big carp, suckers, cats, quillbacks, LMB, SMB. Lots of sizeable fish hundreds really. Dozens of bass in there.

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