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Effects of Pulp and Paper Mill Effluent on Stream Primary Productivity in the Lower Sulphur River, Texas

Description: Responses of periphyton and phytoplankton productivity in the lower Sulphur River (Texas-Arkansas) to bleach-kraft mill effluent (BKME) were monitored using in situ ¹⁴C incubation. Carbon assimilation rates measured downstream of mill discharge were substantially reduced from upstream levels. Periphyton and phytoplankton chlorophyll a concentrations remained relatively unchanged by the presence of BKME. Periphyton ash-free dry weight increased near the mill outfall, but decreased further downstream. Calculated productivity efficiencies (productivity:biomass) varied with variations in ¹⁴C rates. A laboratory bioassay was designed to determine the effect of BKME light-attenuation on photosynthetic rates of upstream Sulphur River periphyton and Selenastrum capricornutum Prinz. Pooled results of bioassay runs indicated a 20 per cent BKME concentration effectively reduced control ¹⁴C-assimilation levels by 50 per cent. The downstream reduction observed for in situ productivity was 5 per cent lower than that predicted by the color bioassay.
Date: August 1982
Creator: Davis, Terrence Marvin
Partner: UNT Libraries