Sabine River Authority of Texas

To: Interested Parties

From: Environmental Services division

RE: december 2000 Water Quality Monitoring Report

This is the Sabine River Authority Water Quality Summary for December 2000.  Water quality sampling was performed December 12th and December 13th in the Upper Basin.  Due to inclement weather, the Lower Basin sample run was done in two parts; December 13th and 14th, and December 19th and 20th.  The Upper Basin received 1.97-2.84 inches of rainfall during the 28 days since the previous sample run, as recorded at Lake Tawakoni and Lake Fork.  Toledo Bend and Orange received 6.67 and 3.84 inches respectively during the 28 days preceding the sample run.  Freezing rain the night before the Upper Basin sample run caused icy conditions and long-term power outages in northeast Texas.  Daytime-high air temperatures in the Upper Basin were in the 50's and 60's recently and in the 30's during the sample run.  Lows in the Upper Basin were in the 30's prior to a warming trend before the cold snap that put lows in the upper teens during nights of the sample run. Lower Basin highs ranged from the 40's to 60's.  Nighttime lows in the Lower Basin were in the 20's and 30's. The reservoirs were completely mixed in keeping with typical wintertime conditions.

Upper Sabine Basin Above Toledo Bend Including Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni

For the December sample run, most of the parameter's values seen at the Upper Basin sites were consistent with water of high quality. The three Lake Fork Reservoir sites had pH values slightly below stream standards minimums and LF2 near the dam had slightly elevated nitrate/nitrite levels.  Water clarity was very good at these three sites as well as most of the river sites.  Fecal coliform counts at the reservoir sites were compliant with stream standards.  Some high fecal coliform levels were seen at several Upper Basin river sites on day two of the sample run.  High counts during this sample run were a little unusual because there were no recent rainfall runoff events.  An ice storm and widespread electrical outages during the sample run may have caused some wastewater treatment plant upsets. Two river sites, SR22 and SR21, had significantly elevated ammonia levels.  Stream standards do not exist for nutrients such as ammonia and nitrate/nitrite.  Statewide screening values and historical comparison are used to evaluate these parameters.

Lower Sabine Basin Including Toledo Bend to Morgan Bluff

December WQM sampling results were indicative of water of high quality at most sites. Toledo Bend Reservoir levels were still below pool level at the time samples were taken. Deep-water stations sampled on the reservoir were well mixed and did not exhibit thermal stratification. Sites TB6M and TB6L had pH levels that were slightly below stream standards. Stations TNH01, TB8, TB6M, TB6L and BA4 had fecal coliform counts that were above stream standards. Station TB6N had sulfate levels higher than stream standards set for Toledo Bend Reservoir. TB6N is sampled from a bayou located downstream from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. Station BA4 had higher conductivity readings than corresponding river sites and levels of sulfate and chloride that exceeded standards set for Sabine River. Station BA4 is sampled from a bayou that receives discharge from a paper mill.

Tidal Section of the Sabine Basin below Morgan Bluff

Stations sampled in the tidal portion of the Sabine Basin had values that were consistent with water of high quality at most sites. Stations AB7 and CB4 had oxygen readings that were below stream standards. Fecal coliform standards were exceeded at four stations: AB7, AB2, CB4, and CB1. Salinity was detected at four tidal stations: AB2, CB1, SRT1, and ICW1. The greatest salinity reading of 11 ppt was observed at the deepest depth at Station SRT1. Deep water stations sampled exhibited thermal stratification with a definite salt-water wedge at river tidal stations SRT1 and SRT2.


This Report and additional data for these monitoring stations are available on our World Wide Web site ( If you have any questions or comments concerning this report, please contact:


       Upper Sabine Basin
John Payne, Upper Basin Field Office Coordinator
903-878-2420 (

       Lower and Tidal Sabine Basin
Cynthia Darbonne, Lower Basin Field Office Coordinator
409-746-3284 (

       If above are unavailable
Miles Hall, Environmental Services Assistant Division Manager
409-746-3284 (


Printed Tuesday, February 20, 2001