About 130 million people in the United States rely on groundwater for drinking water, and the need for high-quality drinking-water supplies becomes more urgent as our population grows. Although groundwater is a safe, reliable source of drinking water for millions of people nationwide, high concentrations of some chemical constituents can pose potential human-health concerns. Some of these contaminants come from the rocks and sediments of the aquifers themselves, and others are chemicals that we use in agriculture, industry, and day-to-day life. When groundwater supplies are contaminated, millions of dollars can be required for treatment so that the supplies can be usable. Contaminants in groundwater can also affect the health of our streams and valuable coastal waters. By knowing where contaminants occur in groundwater, what factors control contaminant concentrations, and what kinds of changes in groundwater quality might be expected in the future, we can ensure the availability and quality of this vital natural resource in the future.
Summary Report for the National Water-Quality Assessment Program Principal Aquifers Series, "The Quality of Our Nation's Waters—"
Circular 1360—Water Quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States, 1991–2010
Circular 1337—Water Quality in the High Plains Aquifer, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, 1999–2004
Circular 1352—Water Quality in the Glacial Aquifer System, Northern United States, 1993–2009
Circular 1353—Water Quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Surficial Aquifer System, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia, 1988–2009
Circular 1354—Water Quality in the Principal Aquifers of the Piedmont, Blue Ridge, and Valley and Ridge Regions, Eastern United States, 1993–2009
Circular 1355—Water Quality in the Upper Floridan Aquifer and Overlying Surficial Aquifers, Southeastern United States, 1993–2010
Circular 1356—Water Quality in the Mississippi Embayment–Texas Coastal Uplands Aquifer System and Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, South-Central United States, 1994–2008
Circular 1357—Water Quality in the Denver Basin Aquifer System, Colorado, 2003–05
Circular 1358—Water Quality in Basin-Fill Aquifers of the Southwestern United States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, 1993–2009
Circular 1359—Groundwater Quality in the Columbia Plateau and Snake River Plain Basin-Fill and Basaltic-Rock Aquifers and the Hawaiian Volcanic-Rock Aquifers, Washington, Idaho, and Hawaii, 1993–2005
First posted January 21, 2015
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DeSimone, L.A., McMahon, P.B., and Rosen, M.R., 2014, The quality of our Nation’s waters—Water quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States, 1991–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1360, 151 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/cir1360.
ISSN 1067–084X (print)
ISSN 2330–5703 (online)
Chapter 1: Overview of Major Findings and Implications
Chapter 2: NAWQA Approach to Assessing Groundwater Quality
Chapter 3: Aquifers and Processes That Affect Groundwater Quality
Chapter 4: The Quality of Groundwater Resources For Drinking and Other Uses
Chapter 5: Understanding Where and Why Constituents From Geologic Sources Occur
Chapter 6: Understanding Where and Why Contaminants From Human Activities Occur
Chapter 7: How Does Our Use of Water Affect Groundwater Quality?