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                                         ACKNOWLEDGMENT
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                 The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, Middle
B          Atlantic Region, gratefully acknowledges the assistance of
            Messrs. Leon and Edward Zuraw, Tidewater Yacht Marina, who
|          graciously supplied space and utilities for the mobile laboratory
_          used in this survey.
              Sincere thanks are extended to the National Field Investigations
B          Center, Cincinnati, who provided technical support and the mobile
            laboratory.
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I                                                            U.S. r;v 
                                                            *->-' , .    f-   V  , -
                                                            |l650ArcliS,retU."f'M52)
                                                            Philadelphia,!5/*. 19103

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           INTRODUCTION
                In September the City of Richmond announced a proposal to discharge
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           approximately 30 mgd  of raw  sewage  to  the James River for  a period of


         110 days beginning about November 1.   The purpose  of the discharge was


           to permit connecting  a new grit  chamber  to  the main sewage pumping


I         station which discharges to  an existing  primary sewage treatment  plant


         and to clean a sewage force  main which had  partially clogged with


           sediment during the August flood.


              In order to evaluate any  water quality degradation which  might


           occur as the result of a raw sewage discharge, an  intensive water


         quality survey of the James  River Estuary between  Richmond and Hopewell


m         was conducted from October 1*4-  through  30 by the Federal Water  Pollution


           Control Administration,  Middle Atlantic  Region.  Study objectives were


         to define water quality prior  to the proposed raw  sewage discharge.   A


           similar study would be undertaken should the proposal become fact and


|         the difference in quality evaluated to determine actual effects.   Ten


         campling stations were selected  at  critical points in the  estuary in


           the 32 mile stream reach between Richmond and Hopewell.  Another  station


         was established at Boulevard Bridge to determine the  quality of water


           entering the estuary  above Richmond (See Map).


|              Samples were collected  each day at  slack low  tide and analyses


_         were run for total coliform, fecal  coliform. dissolved oxygen,  tempera-


         ture,  biochemical oxygen demand,  nutrients,  chemical  oxygen demand, total
 I         organic carbon,  and  metals.



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           SURVEY RESULTS
                Although other laboratory analyses were made,  this report contains

           only an evaluation of total coliform,  fecal coliform,  and dissolved

           oxygen levels which are the most significant in terms  of the proposed

         raw sewage discharge.  A detailed technical report  will be prepared

           following an evaluation of all the laboratory results.

|              The sanitary significance of total coliform and fecal coliform is

M         dependent upon the source of pollution, level of treatment provided, and

           environmental effects of the receiving water.   The  fecal coliform group

I         of organisms is an indicator of recent fecal pollution and is used to

           distinguish between bacteriological pollution contributed by warm

|         blooded animals and that contributed by other sources.  The fecal group

_         is considered to be the best indicator of the possible presence of

           pathogenic organisms.   The absence of  coliforms and fecal coliform

I         alone does not indicate safe sanitary  quality, and  before approval

           for water supply and recreational uses, a sanitary  survey must be made.

|              The Virginia Water Control Board  recommends a  bacterial density

_         of 2UOO total coliforms/100 ml as the  limit for primary contact

         recreation, secondary contact recreation, and public water supplies.

         The National Technical Advisory Committee's Report  on  Water Quality

           Criteria indicates a preference for fecal coliforms as an indicator,

         and recommends 200 fecal/100 ml as the  limit for primary contact

           recreation, 1000 fecal/100 ml for secondary contact recreation,  and

         2000 fecal/100 ml for public water supplies.



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                                                                                   3

                 A graph showing the bacterial density of fecal coliforms at each


            station is shown on Figure 1.  Also shown are the acceptable fecal

I          coliform limits for primary contact recreation, secondary contact


            recreation, and public water supplies.  These data indicate that


          coliform levels in the James River are acceptable for all water uses


            at Boulevard Bridge and Mayos Island.  However, immediately downstream


          from the Richmond and Henrico County sewage treatment plants the


          recommended limit for primary contact recreation is exceeded.


                 Data obtained below the Richmond discharge during the first 3


          cJays of the survey indicated a fecal coliform density of 212/100 ml


            while the last 7 days showed less than 1/100 ml.  Although free and


          combined chlorine residuals were not found in the river samples, the


          change in coliform concentrations could be attributed to high dosage


            rates of chlorine at the treatment plant and/or the presence of other


          toxic substances in the treated effluent.  A sample of this water is


            currently undergoing a toxilogical analysis,


               The City of Richmond discharges an unknown quantity of raw wastes


          to Goode Creek where the fecal coliform density reached 115,000/100 ml.


            At station 168, approximately one half mile downstream from Goode Creek,


          the coliform density increased in the estuary to 3,150/10 ml? which

            exceeded the limit for secondary contact recreation.   This was probably


          due to a combination of the raw discharge from Goode  Creek and the

          regrowth of the coliforms from Richmond and Henrico County's Gillies


            Creek sewage treatment plants.

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                Further downstream near the Richmond Deepwater Terminal (station 166),
         the number of organisms increased to a maximum of 28,000/100 ml.   From
           this point downstream to Hopewell, concentrations decreased due to
         natural mortality, greater dilution, and the absence of unchlorinated
         domestic waste discharges.  Samples taken two miles upstream from
           Hopewell contained fecal coliform densities which were within the
         permissible limits for all water uses.  It should be noted that the die-
           off rate of coliforms during the first part of the study was more rapid
         because of warm temperatures.  As the study progressed and the water
         temperature became colder, coliform densities increased at downstream
           stations extending the zone of poor water quality.  It would be expected
         that an water temperaturescontinue to fall with the onset of winter, the
           zone will gradually be extended.
I              The significance of dissolved oxygen in water is primarily related
         to fish propagation and survival.  The Virginia Water Control Board
           recommends a minimum dissolved oxygen of h mg/1.  This level is generally
         compatible with the National Technical Advisory Committee's recommendations
           of a minimum of U mg/1 with a daily average of 5 mg/1.  The amount of
|         initial dissolved oxygen available in a stream to assimilate organic
_         waste varies with the temperature of the water.   Warm waters contain
           less oxygen than cold water, and as a result critical conditions  normally
         occur during the summer period.
                As organic  wastes are biologically degraded, oxygen is removed
|         from the water and replenished from the atmosphere.   Below Richmond,

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_        oxygen is utilized at a faster rate than it can be replaced by the
'        atmosphere and results in a lowering of the concentrations (Figure 2).
        The concentrations begin an upward trend when biological activity slows
          because of decreasing food supply as the wastes are assimilated and
        atmospheric reoxygenation exceeds the biological demand.   The decrease
          in dissolved oxygen concentration from Richmond to Proctor's Creek
        (station 155) reflects the degradation of water quality resulting from
        the discharge of oxygen demanding wastes from  Henrico County, Richmond,
          DuPont and Chesterfield County.
             The dissolved oxygen levels in the estuary dropped below 5 mg/1
          at station 162 and did not recover until station 135?  resulting in a
B        degradation of 25 miles.   At the beginning of the survey,  the dissolved
        oxygen near Proctor's Creek was 0.2 mg/1, and fish in  the vicinity
          were observed to be in distress.   By the end of the study the dissolved
        oxygen at this station increased to 3 rag/1, and during this period the
          water temperature dropped 11C.   This improvement in dissolved oxygen
I        doec not necessarily indicate a reduction of organic loads since the
        11 C drop in temperature would result in an increase in available
          dissolved oxygen and a slowing of biological activity.
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NUMMARY
     The evaluation of fecal coliform and dissolved oxygen in the
JameD River Estuary indicates that the waste discharges in the 32
mile reach downstream from Richmond degrade water quality to levelf
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          below  that which  is recommended for recreation, water  supply,  and
       finh  propagation.  Maximum fecal coliform concentrations occur  four

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 and one half miles downstream from Richmond, and the lowest dissolved

oxygen levels occur about 11 miles downstream.  During the survey

 approximately 25 miles of stream were degraded to levels below the
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         recommended water quality standards.  However, before reaching Hopewell
        the James River Estuary recovered to satisfactory levels . .
              If the Richmond proposal to discharge raw waste was carried out
        during the winter period when water temperatures were at their lowest ,
        it would be expected that the zone exceeding recommended fecal coliform
         concentrations would be extended.  However, dissolved oxygen levels
        would not be expected to change significantly because of the greater
         availability of dissolved oxygen at lower temperatures.
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                                           FECAL  COL i FORM
                                                              VS

                                                       RIVER  MILE
                                                                           DENSITIES
    10,000
1000
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                                                                    N.T.A.C. RECOMMENDED LIMIT FOR

                                                                    PUBLIC SUPPLIES
                                                                    N.T.A.C. RECOMMENDED  LIMIT FOR
                                                                    SECONDARY  CONTACT RECREATION
              BOULEVARD
              BRIDGE
                                                                            IZ6

                                                               N.T.A.C.  RECOMMENDED LIMIT FOR

                                                               PRIMARY  CONTACT RECREATION
                             if 00
                                                   I
                  110
                             IOC             90

                                        RIVER  MILE
80
70
             SAMPLE  STATION
                                                                                          FIG. I

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                        RICHMOND
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                                               HENRICO COUNTY DISCHARGES TO GILLIE CREEK
        RAW DISCHARGE FROM RICHMOND
            CHESTERFIELI

            SEWAGE

            TREATMENT

            PLANT
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                       JAMES  RIVER   STUDY

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