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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Bruce Berdanier


The purpose of this study was to collect and analyze water and sediment samples from the White and Cheyenne Rivers of Northwestern Nebraska and Southwestern South Dakota in order to determine if trace metals exist in such concentrations that they pose a risk to human or environmental health. There is not an adequate amount of data related to trace metal concentrations in the study area available to the public, which is why this study has been conducted and will be compared to and supplement data previously obtained independently or via combination of federal, state, and tribal governments. The geology, hydrology, and anthropogenic activity of the study area suggest atypical amounts of metals are possible with respect to regulatory standards and relative to other areas in the United States. Using Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry, it was found that 25 water and 26 sediment analytes were valid for reporting with respect to quality control and assurance procedures. It is incontrovertible that many sample locations displayed concentrations in excess of regulatory standards and typical values for multiple analytes with respect to human and environmental health at the times sampled. Therefore, further study is recommended as soon as possible.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Metals -- Environmental aspects -- White River (Neb. and S.D.)
Metals -- Environmental aspects -- Cheyenne River (Wyo. and S.D.)
Trace elements in Water -- White River (Neb. and S.D.)
Trace elements in Water -- Cheyenne River (Wyo. and S.D.)
Water quality -- White River (Neb. and S.D.)
Water quality -- Cheyenne River (Wyo. and S.D.)


Includes bibliographical references (pages 237-248)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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