Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2014–1084

Prepared in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Groundwater Quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin, New York, 2012

By Tia-Marie Scott and Elizabeth A. Nystrom

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.55 MB)Abstract

Water samples were collected from 20 production and domestic wells in the Upper Hudson River Basin (north of the Federal Dam at Troy, New York) in New York in August 2012 to characterize groundwater quality in the basin. The samples were collected and processed using standard U.S. Geological Survey procedures and were analyzed for 148 physiochemical properties and constituents, including dissolved gases, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radionuclides, and indicator bacteria.

The Upper Hudson River Basin covers 4,600 square miles in upstate New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts; the study area encompasses the 4,000 square miles that lie within New York. The basin is underlain by crystalline and sedimentary bedrock, including gneiss, shale, and slate; some sandstone and carbonate rocks are present locally. The bedrock in some areas is overlain by surficial deposits of saturated sand and gravel. Eleven of the wells sampled in the Upper Hudson River Basin are completed in sand and gravel deposits, and nine are completed in bedrock. Groundwater in the Upper Hudson River Basin was typically neutral or slightly basic; the water typically was moderately hard. Bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, and sodium were the major ions with the greatest median concentrations; the dominant nutrient was nitrate. Methane was detected in 7 samples. Strontium, iron, barium, boron, and manganese were the trace elements with the highest median concentrations. Two pesticides, an herbicide degradate and an insecticide degredate, were detected in two samples at trace levels; seven VOCs, including chloroform, four solvents, and the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) were detected in four samples. The greatest radon-222 activity, 2,900 picocuries per liter, was measured in a sample from a bedrock well; the median radon activity was higher in samples from bedrock wells than in samples from sand and gravel wells. Coliform bacteria were detected in one sample with a maximum of 2 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters.

Water quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin is generally good, but concentrations of some constituents equaled or exceeded current or proposed Federal or New York State drinking-water standards. The standards exceeded are color (1 sample), pH (3 samples), sodium (3 samples), chloride (1 sample), dissolved solids (1 sample), arsenic (1 sample), iron (2 samples), manganese (2 samples), uranium (1 sample), radon-222 (12 samples), and gross beta activities (3 samples). Total coliform bacteria were each detected in one sample. Concentrations of fluoride, sulfate, nitrate, nitrite, aluminum, antimony, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, thallium, zinc, and gross alpha activities did not exceed existing drinking-water standards in any of the samples collected. Methane concentration in one sample was greater than 28 milligrams per liter, with a concentration of 35.1 milligrams per liter.

First posted August 14, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, New York Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
425 Jordan Road
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 285-5600

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Scott, Tia-Marie, and Nystrom, E.A., 2014, Groundwater quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin, New York, 2012: U.S Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1084, 21 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)




Methods of Investigation

Groundwater Quality


References Cited

Appendix 1. Results of Water-Sample Analyses, 2012

Appendix 2. Results of Water-Sample Analyses, 2007 and 2012

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 07:37:25 PM