Clair N. Sawyer

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



This report is concerned with the management of waste-waters and subsurface drainage from the City of Las Vegas and its environs and the BMI complex, all in Clark County, Nevada. The prime objective is to recommend a plan of action which will utilize the natural resources of the area in the least costly manner and still protect Lake Mead for recreational purposes and use as a public water supply, At this writing, conditions in the upper Las Vegas arm of Boulder Basin are quite unsatisfactory for some recreational purposes due to the extensive blooms of algae which develop. Experience at other locations in the United States and elsewhere teaches us that these problems do not solve themselves, rather they grow worse as populations and wastewater flows increase.

Although the water supply of the Southern Nevada Water System (SNWS) has not been seriously affected up to the present time, it can be predicted that it will suffer from increased problems due to plankton and oxygen depletion, unless corrective measures are instituted. The water plant is particularly vulnerable to problems related to oxygen depletion because of its single intake structure.

The concepts developed in this report and the recommendations are based to a large extent upon a review of a number of reports dealing with the limnology of Lake Mead and the character of the normal inflow from Las Vegas Wash (LVW). In addition, personal inspections were made on Lake Mead by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation boat in the area of the SNWS water intake at Saddle Island and all the way up Las Vegas Bay (LVB) to the point where waters from LVW enter. Shore line and near shore inspections were made at the following locations.

1.Temple Bar

2. Boulder Beach

3. Lake Mead Marina

4. Las Vegas Boat Harbor

5. Government Wash

6. Callville Bay

7. Echo Bay

9. Overton Beach

Valuable insight concerning the nature of treatment problems for producing a public water supply from Lake Mead was obtained during two visits to the SNWS plant and from visits to the Bureau of Reclamation offices in Boulder City and to the Boulder City Department of Public Works.

Information regarding Lake Powell and supplementary data on Lake Mead were supplied by the National Eutrophioation Survey office of the U.S. EPA in Corvallis, Oregon.


Aquatic pollution; Benthic organisms; Freshwater plankton; Freshwater pollution; Lake Mead (Ariz. and Nev.); Water treatment


Bacteriology | Biochemistry | Environmental Engineering | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Fresh Water Studies | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Plant Pathology | Sustainability | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology