A Study of River Foaming and its Possible Causes

by Harold S. Costa, Tufts Univ, Medford, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Environmental Engineering


Foaming has been observed on uncontaminated upland streams draining watersheds having no human related development. Because water alone will not foam when agitated, the presence of these foams is attributed to the surface active agents washed or leached from watershed vegetation and ground litter. Foams generated by contaminated streams result from the naturally occurring constituents present as well as the residuals contributed by man's activities. Normal development of watersheds generally leads to a host of potential point and non-point sources of materials which could influence foaming. Regardless of their source, all potential foam-related constituents likely interact in a complex manner resulting in a variety of effects which can be synergistic, additive or even antagonistic.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Rivers and streams | Water resources | Water pollution | Water quality | Drainage | Human factors | Surface-active agents

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