Simulation of Wastewater Effects on Dissolved Oxygen During Low Streamflow in the Red River of the North at Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota

Pursuant to Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, both North Dakota and Minnesota identified part of the Red River of the North (Red River) as water-quality limited. The states are required to determine the total maximum daily load (TMDL) that can be discharged to a water-quality limited reach from various pollution sources without contravening water-quality standards (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1991). A work group consisting of local, State, and Federal agency representatives that was organized in June 1994 decided that a TMDL should be developed in phases for a subreach of the Red River at Fargo, N. Dak., and Moorhead, Minn. (fig. 1). In the first phase, which is the basis for this report, the focus is on attainment of the instream dissolved oxygen (DO) standard during low streamflows, and only Fargo and Moorhead wastewater-treatment-plant discharges and Sheyenne River inflow are considered. The study reach begins about 0.1 mile (mi) downstream (north) of the 12th Avenue North bridge in Fargo and extends 30.8 mi downstream to a site 0.8 mi upstream of the confluence of the Buffalo and Red Rivers (fig. 1). Nitrification of total ammonia (ammonia) from Fargo and Moorhead wastewater consumes most of the DO in the study reach (Wesolowski, 1994). Because the new (1995) Fargo plant already is nitrifying its wastewater, the work group needed to determine the maximum ammonia concentration for wastewater from the nonnitrifying Moorhead plant. To accomplish this task, the Red River at Fargo Water-Quality (RRatFGO QW) model (Wesolowski, 1994, 1996b) was used to simulate the effects of various wastewater-management alternatives during low streamflow. This report presents the results of those simulations to determine the usefulness of the model for management decisions. The simulations and report were completed in cooperation with the North Dakota Department of Health.
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U.S. Geological Survey
Main Topic
Body of Water
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Minnesota Water Research Digital Library
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