Thesis Title

Spatial Trends of Non-Point Pollutants in Bottom Sediment of Lake Springfield, Southwest Missouri

Date of Graduation

Fall 2002


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


Sediment quality trends can be used to identify pollution sources in lake and river systems. This study evaluates the spatial distribution of phosphorus, lead, zinc, copper, and calcium concentrations in bottom sediments of Lake Springfield to identify sources of non-point pollutants. With the recent discussions of dredging Lake Springfield, the question of sediment contamination within the lake also needs to be addressed. Lake Springfield covers 300 acres in southwestern Missouri and was formed by a dam across the James River in 1957 to supply cooling water for power production in the Ozarks Plateau region. The water quality in the James River basin is impaired in some reaches by nutrients and metals from non-point agricultural and urban pollutants. A GIS-based approach to environmental monitoring is used to collect, map, and evaluate geochemical data. A total of 39 sites were sampled in triplicate within the lake, inflowing river, and direct tributaries resulting in 117 samples. The organic matter, aluminum, and iron content of each sample were determined to evaluate the influence of variable sediment composition on pollutant concentrations. The results indicate that sediment-bound metals and phosphorus tend to be highly correlated among each other and increase with depth in strong association with fine-grained sedimentation in low-energy areas of the lake system. With-in site coefficient of variation for all elements is generally less than 15% with lower variability associated with deeper, lower energy areas of the lake which have more uniform sedimentation rates. P is entering the lake from various non-point sources, but concentrations are relatively low. Anthropogenic Pb and Zn sources include urban and residential non-point sources along the tributaries and possibly runoff from highway drains and the erosion of upstream river deposits contaminated by historical mining. Moderate Cu enrichment is related to wind-blown coal dust from the power plant. Ca is being released from the limestone production factory located along Galloway Creek.


© Tricia Tannehill