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Old 06-30-2011, 10:08 AM   #1
jacksalmon
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Default Sewage in he West Fork of Little Bear Creek Helps Steelhead

I thought this was an interesting story for those who are interested in the biology of fish, so here goes. In a periodical I get, there was article about how the sewage water of Troy, Idaho is spilled into the West Fork of Little Bear Creek, which is a tributary to the Potlatch River in Northern Idaho. The Potlatch is lowermost major tributary to the Clearwater.

The town of Troy can't afford to treat its sewage water any better than it does so significant amounts of ammonium and phosphorus get dumped in the creek. Apparently, they are dumped in just the right amounts to increase the amount of algae present that encourages the growth of just the right amount of insect life that feeds steelhead smolts. This results in this creek having the highest abundance of wild steelhead juveniles of any tributary to the Potlatch. The scientists explain the benefit of the fertilizer discharges by saying that they are substitutes for the decomposing bodies of fish that used to spawn in the creek. So, maybe all that cow crap in the Tillamook streams ain't such a bad thing when there aren't enough decomposing fish to provide nutrients to grow algae and insects.

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Old 07-02-2011, 08:15 AM   #2
Ben Hur
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Default Re: Sewage in he West Fork of Little Bear Creek Helps Steelhead

I'm pretty sure their is no control on the precise amount of cow dung that goes into the Tillamook Rivers. But I am sure that the bugs living or eating the cow dung when the river floods the area are incorporated into the food web very well. I've caught coho smolts gorged on terrestrial insects in the spring during high water flows in the fields. If stranding is not an issue the coho use these high food source areas and do very well before going to the ocean. Bigger smolts, better survival generally is the thought.
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sewage in he West Fork of Little Bear Creek Helps Steelhead

The key here is the words-just the right amount. Us humans tend to bend that meaning into- let it fly!

Interesting. I'm not sure that human waste and cow dung are the same, also almost all sewage is treated to some extent, which a lot of cow dung is not.

Ammonia and phosphorus treatment usually only occurs in advanced treatment facilities. Ammonia and phosphorus discharges are quite common from lagoon systems which I would suspect Troy uses, which means most of the organics have been oxidized.
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Sewage in he West Fork of Little Bear Creek Helps Steelhead

Here's a link to the article......very interesting

indeed.http://www.water.uidaho.edu/node/205


I'm a little surprised that the article says they have a activated sludge plant with three lagoons, usually activated sludge has a higher removal of ammonia.

It sounds like the first 1/8 of a mile the BOD is too high to support fish, but after that, they thrive.
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