The effects of power plant effluents on the growth of phytoplankton in adjacent estuarine waters.
The effects of Houston Lighting and Power Company's Cedar Bayou Generating Station on the growth of phytoplankton in adjacent estuarine waters were investigated during the period from May 1974 through May 1975. Monthly chlorophyll a concentrations and C14 uptake rates were measured in samples from 11 stations as the estimates of the phytoplankton standing crops and primary productivity rates in the waters of the cooling system and adjacent estuarine areas. Bioassays were conducted with samples from 8 stations to determine the suitability of water for phytoplankton growth by fluorometrically measuring the relative growth of Skeletonema costatum and the naturally occurring mixed phytoplankton populations. Surface measurements of water temperature, salinity, electrical conductivity and pH were made each month at each station. The chlorophyll a concentrations and primary productivity rates were higher in samples from the cooling pond discharge station and the lower Cedar Bayou stations in the old bayou channel and the man-made canal than were samples in the upper Cedar Bayou stations and the other stations of Trinity Bay. Although chlorophyll a concentrations were less in the waters of the discharge canal than in the plant's intake area, the discharge water stimulated phytoplankton growth in the cooling pond outfall area. The results of bioassays also indicated that the water samples from the cooling pond discharge station were more suitable for the growth of phytoplankton than were samples from the other Trinity Bay stations.