Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of effluent discharge and concentration on streambed infiltration in the Lower Santa Cruz River
by Prietto, Jacob, M.S., The University of Arizona, 2014, 146; 1564175
Abstract (Summary)

Wastewater generated in the Tucson metropolitan region is conveyed to and treated at the Roger Road Wastewater Reclamation Facility (WRF) and Ina Road WRF. From 2005 to 2012, approximately 15,000 acre-feet per year of effluent was returned to the City of Tucson for additional filtration and reuse in the reclaimed water system. The remaining 48,000+ acre-feet per year of treated effluent was discharged to the Santa Cruz River, where a variable portion of the effluent infiltrates the streambed. The effluent that infiltrates the streambed contributes to recharge credits for participants invested in the Managed Underground Storage Facilities.

In the effluent-dependent river, physical, chemical, and biological processes work in combination to develop a clogging layer near the streambed surface, which reduces infiltration. Previous studies have shown that large storm events have the ability to scour away the clogging layer and are the most significant processes contributing to establishing infiltration rates. Without the occurrence of large storm events, other variables such as effluent discharge and effluent concentrations affect infiltration to a lesser degree.

Effluent discharge, biochemical oxygen demand, and total suspended solids are monitored and recorded daily at the outfalls of the WRFs. The parameters were investigated individually and in combination using statistical analyses to determine their correlations with streambed infiltration in the Santa Cruz River. The dry spring-early summer seasons from 2005 to 2012 were analyzed. A water balance was constructed for non-stormflow days during each time period. Evapotranspiration was calculated using riparian vegetation surveys and detailed delineations of aerial photography of the surface water and streamside herbaceous vegetation. Infiltration was derived as the residual of the water balance.

At the daily time scale, correlations among variables were unobtainable due to the extremely variable characteristics of infiltration. The seasonal time scale analyses demonstrated an inverse relationship between both the effluent concentrations of biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids with infiltration and a direct correlation between effluent discharge and infiltration under extreme conditions. Under normal conditions, the distribution of discharge between Roger Road WRF and Ina Road WRF had a critical effect on infiltration as a result of the different deposition and erosive regimes through the Santa Cruz River.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Winter, C. Larry
Commitee: Canfield, H. Evan, Maddock, Thomas, III
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Hydrology
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 53/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Hydrologic sciences, Water Resource Management
Keywords: Biochemical oxygen demand, Clogging, Infiltration, Santa Cruz River, Total suspended solids, Tucson
Publication Number: 1564175
ISBN: 978-1-321-15439-9
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