Water Quality at Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Sam Rayburn Reservoir (Segment 0610) is classified by the TCEQ as water quality limited and the designated water uses are Contact Recreation, High Aquatic Life Use, and Public Water Supply. There are 29 wastewater dischargers in this segment (16 municipal, 13 industrial) with a combined total discharge of approximately 22.54 MGD. The elevations range from 530 feet MSL to 164 feet MSL at the reservoir power pool. The principal tributaries of the segment are Attoyac Bayou (segment 0612), Ayish Bayou, Carrizo Bayou, Mill Creek, and Harvey Creek.

The 2000 Texas Water Quality Inventory prepared by the TCEQ pursuant to Section 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act summarizes the general use support and water quality concerns for the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The contact recreation use and public water supply use are both supported for the reservoir, however the aquatic life use is not supported in several areas.

These areas include 5,120 acres at the upper end of the Angelina River arm downstream of Paper Mill Creek. The aquatic life use is partially supported in five other areas, due to depressed dissolved oxygen concentrations. In three acres at the extreme upper end of the Angelina River arm upstream of Paper Mill Creek, the aquatic life use is not supported because of sub-optimal fish community characteristics. The aquatic life use is partially supported in 5,120 acres in the middle portion of the Angelina River arm near SH 103 because dissolved aluminum concentrations exceed the acute aquatic life criterion at a 25% frequency. 

The fish consumption is partially supported throughout the reservoir because of a restricted fish consumption advisory issued by the Texas Department of Health in November 1995 due to elevated levels of mercury in fish tissue. General uses are partially supported in the main body of the reservoir near SH 147 because pH values are outside the criterion range.

Dissolved oxygen is an aquatic life concern in the Attoyac Bayou arm near SH 103. Oil and grease, arsenic, manganese, and nickel in sediment are concerns at numerous locations throughout the reservoir. Ammonia-nitrogen and orthophosphorus are concerns at several locations throughout the reservoir. In the upper end of the Angelina River arm, water color and odor are concerns.

Surface Water Quality Standards (This document contains the State of Texas water quality criteria for the Upper Neches River Basin to help interpret the water quality data)