ABSTRACT An analysis of water-quality trends was made at two U.S. Geological Survey daily discharge stations in southern Florida. The ESTREND computer program was the principal tool used for the determination of water-quality trends at the Miami Canal station west of Biscayne Bay in Miami and the Tamiami Canal station along U.S. Highway 41 in the Big Cypress National Preserve in Collier County. Variability in water quality caused by both seasonality and streamflow was compensated for by applying the nonparametric Seasonal Kendall trend test to unadjusted concentrations or flow-adjusted concentrations (residuals) determined from linear regression analysis.
Concentrations of selected major inorganic constituents and physical characteristics; pH and dissolved oxygen; suspended sediment; nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon species; trace metals; and bacteriological and biological characteristics were determined at the Miami and Tamiami Canal stations. Median and maximum concentrations of selected constituents were compared to the Florida Class III freshwater standards for recreation, propagation, and maintenance of a healthy, well-balanced population of fish and wildlife. The median concentrations of the water-quality constituents and characteristics generally were higher at the Miami Canal station than at the Tamiami Canal station. The maximum value for specific conductance at the Miami Canal station exceeded the State standard. The median and maximum concentrations for ammonia at the Miami and Tamiami Canal stations exceeded the State standard, whereas median dissolved-oxygen concentrations at both stations were below the State standard.
Trend results were indicative of either improvement or deterioration in water quality with time. Improvement in water quality at the Miami Canal station was reflected by downward trends in suspended sediment (1987-94), turbidity, (1970-78), total ammonia (1971-94), total phosphorus (1987-94), barium (1978-94), iron (1969-94), and fecal coliform (1976-94). Deterioration in water quality at the same station was indicated by upward trends in specific conductance (1966-94), dissolved solids (1966-94, 1976-94, and 1987-94), chloride (1966-94), potassium (1966-94), magnesium (1966-94), sodium (1966-94), sulfate (1966-94), silica (1966-94), suspended sediment (1974-94), total organic carbon (1970-81), and fecal streptococcus (1987-94). The downward trend in pH (1966-94) was indicative of deterioration in water quality at the Miami Canal station.
Improvement in water quality at the Tamiami Canal station was reflected by downward trends in fluoride (1967-93), total ammonia (1970-92), total nitrite plus nitrate (1975-85), and barium (1978-93). Deterioration in water quality at the same station was statistically significant by upward trends in specific conductance (1967-93), dissolved solids (1967-93), chloride (1967-93), sodium (1967-93), potassium (1967-93), magnesium (1967-93), strontium (1967-93), and suspended sediment (1976-93). The downward trend in dissolved oxygen (1970-93) was indicative of deterioration in water quality.