Water Quality and Urbanization: a Multitemporal Study of the Pierson Creek Drainage Basin, Greene County, Missouri

Date of Graduation

Fall 1995


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Elias Johnson


The relationships between the quality of water in Pierson Creek and amounts, types, and locations of urban development in the Pierson Creek drainage basin during teh 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s were examined in this study. To accomplish this, building locations, areas served by centralized wastewater treatment, areas of increased risk for water pollution, and water quality test sites were mapped. Weights were assigned to areas of increased risk. A method enabling quantification of multi-family, commerical, and industrial types of urbanization was developed in order to calculate amounts of urbanization at specific times and places. The results of both biological and chemical tests of water quality were compared with urbanizatiaon upstream of each test site at the time of the tests. Three of the four biological indications of water quality yielded statistically significant degrees of correlation with urbanization; none of the chemical water quality tests achieved that level. Specific conductance displayed the strongest positive correlation of the chemical parameters examined. Total phosphorus showed a relatively strong negative correlation with urbanization. The decline in phosphorus levels was ascribed to the reduction of phosphorus in detergents during the 1980s.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Judith Laing Grable