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Circular 1356

National Water-Quality Assessment Program

The Quality of Our Nation's Waters

Water Quality in the Mississippi Embayment—Texas Coastal Uplands Aquifer System and Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer, South-Central United States, 1994–2008

By James A. Kingsbury, Jeannie R.B. Barlow, Brian G. Katz, Heather L. Welch, Roland W. Tollett, and Lynne S. Fahlquist

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (19.3 MB)Overview

About 8 million people rely on groundwater from the Mississippi embayment—Texas coastal uplands aquifer system for drinking water. The Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer also provides drinking water for domestic use in rural areas but is of primary importance to the region as a source of water for irrigation. Irrigation withdrawals from this aquifer are among the largest in the Nation and play a key role in the economy of the area, where annual crop sales total more than $7 billion. The reliance of the region on both aquifers for drinking water and irrigation highlights the importance of long-term management to sustain the availability and quality of these resources.

Major Findings

  • Few contaminants were detected at concentrations greater than human-health benchmarks
  • Groundwater is a source of phosphorus to streams in the lower Mississippi River watershed
  • Nitrate concentrations in shallow groundwater were low despite widespread fertilizer use
  • Groundwater is most vulnerable to contamination where groundwater residence times are short
  • Vulnerability of deep aquifers may increase in areas of high-volume pumping

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

Companion Reports

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

For additional information, contact:
Chief, National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program 
U.S. Geological Survey
413 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/

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Suggested citation:

Kingsbury, J.A., Barlow, J.R.B., Katz, B.G., Welch, H.L., Tollett, R.W., and Fahlquist, L.S., 2014, The quality of our Nation’s waters—Water quality in the Mississippi embayment—Texas coastal uplands aquifer system and Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer, south-central United States, 1994–2008: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1356, 72 p., https://dx.doi.org/10.3133/cir1356.

ISSN 1067–084X (print)

ISSN 2330–5703 (online)



Contents

Chapter 1: Overview of Major Findings and Implications

Chapter 2: NAWQA Approach to Assessing Groundwater Quality

Chapter 3: Environmental and Hydrogeologic Setting

Chapter 4: Natural Processes and Human Activities That Affect Groundwater Quality

Chapter 5: Quality of the Groundwater Resource Used for Drinking

Chapter 6: Understanding Where and Why Key Contaminants Occur in Groundwater

Chapter 7: Understanding Where and Why Key Contaminants Occur in Deep Groundwater Used for Public and Domestic Supply

References Cited

Glossary

Appendixes




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