Elk River Basin - Water Quality green bar

In 1998, some sections of streams within the Elk River Basin were placed on the EPA’s TMDL list (see water monitoring section).   These include the following:

  • Big Sugar Creek - 35 miles

  • Buffalo Creek - 9 miles

  • Elk River - 21.5 miles

  • Indian Creek - 26 miles

  • North Indian Creek - 10.5 miles

  • South Indian Creek - 9 miles

  • Little Sugar Creek - 11 miles

  • Patterson Creek - 2 miles

These streams are included based on current nutrient loading from nearby livestock operations.   Current pollution control measures are not expected to be sufficient enough to offset this nutrient input.

In 1996, the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology found that Town Branch, a tributary of Little Sugar Creek, was not clean enough to be used for drinking water and only partially clean enough to support aquatic life within the stream.   This was due to nutrient loading from point-source pollution from nearby cities. Little Sugar Creek also had high levels of turbidity and nutrients from non-point-source pollution and was determined to only partially support aquatic life.  

Some wells have recently been contaminated within the Elk River Basin.   High levels of radium were found in groundwater in Lanagan and Noel, Missouri, and hydrogen sulfide has been found in high levels in wells in some homes.   Hydrogen sulfide is the gas that smells like rotten eggs.

Fish Kills

If the water in a river is too hot or if there is not enough dissolved oxygen in the water, large numbers of fish can die. See the table below for a record of large mortality events known as “fish kills” that have occurred in the Elk River Basin. Most fish kills in the Elk River Basin are attributed to wastes from confined animal feeding operations and poultry farms.

Fish kills and water pollution investigations in the Elk River Basin, 1970 - 1998

Date

Stream

County

# of Fish

Est. value

Cause/Source

7-Jul-81

Miser Hollow Branch

McDonald

 

 

petroleum

29-Jul-80

Elk River

McDonald

 

 

grain

Nov. 20, 1978

Elk River

McDonald

 

 

septic tank seepage

Nov. 20, 1978

Little Sugar Creek

McDonald

 

 

sewage effluent/silt

Pre-1982 Total

0

0

 

Oct. 13, 1998

Cave Spring Branch

McDonald

8

$4.02

poultry processing waste

Sep. 3, 1998

Elk River

McDonald

 

 

ammonia

Jul. 14, 1998

Elk River

McDonald

250-300 mussels

 

sewage suspected

Apr. 2, 1998

Honey Creek

McDonald

 

 

concrete

Feb. 24, 1998

Cave Spring Branch

McDonald

0

 

poultry processing waste

Jul. 28, 1997

Elk River

McDonald

 

 

high temp./low flow

7-May-97

Elk River

 

 

 

unknown

Aug. 9, 1996

Thief Hollow Creek

McDonald

 

 

hydraulic fluid

Jul. 26, 1996

Butts Ponds

McDonald

 

 

poultry manure

Mar. 29, 1996

Elk River (floodplain)

McDonald

 

 

food processing wastes

Sep. 25, 1995

Elk River

McDonald

 

 

municipal wastewater

Oct. 07, 1994

Little Sugar Creek

McDonald

 

 

diesel fuel

Oct. 22, 1994

Stogdon Creek

McDonald

 

 

poultry waste

Dec. 20, 1991

Honey Creek

McDonald

 

 

petroleum

Aug. 09, 1989

Little Sugar Creek

McDonald

0

 

mining

Mar. 13, 1987

Cave Springs Branch

McDonald

317

$50.62

poultry waste

Dec. 08, 1986

Indian Creek

McDonald

0

0

railroad

12-May-85

Buffalo Creek

McDonald

0

0

unknown

Apr. 27, 1984

Indian Creek

McDonald

 

 

municipal sewage

Dec. 09, 1983

Indian Creek

McDonald

unknown

0

dodecyl benzen/railroad

Aug. 08, 1982

Patterson Creek

McDonald

 

 

unknown pesticide

Post-1982 Total

325

$54.64

 

Source: Missouri Department of Conservation, available at http://www.conservation.mo.gov/fish/watershed/elk/watqual/010wqt06.htm.

Index | History | Agriculture | Non-Ag Activities | Recreation | Point Source Pollution | NPS | Plants & Animals | Water Quality | Projects & Groups
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Elk River | James River | Sac River | Spring River | North Fork Salt River


Missouri Department
of Natural Resources

Missouri Watershed Information Network (MoWIN)
Send comments to: mowin1@missouri.edu
205 Agricultural Engineering
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-0085
Toll Free: (MO only): 1-877-H20-shed (426-7433)
Fax: (573) 884-5650

Page last updated August 26, 2008