Ground-Water Quality in Geauga County, Ohio — Review of Previous Studies, Status in 1999, and Comparison of 1986 and 1999 Data

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001–4160
Prepared in cooperation with the Geauga County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners
By:  and 



Most residents in Geauga County, Ohio, rely on ground water as their primary source of drinking water. With population growing at a steady rate, the possibility that human activity will affect ground-water quality becomes considerable. This report presents the results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Geauga County Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners, to provide a brief synopsis of work previously done within the county, to assess the present (1999) ground-water quality, and to determine any changes in groundwater quality between 1986 and 1999.

Previous studies of ground-water quality in the county have consistently reported that manganese and iron concentrations in ground water in Geauga County often exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL). Road salt and, less commonly, oil-field brines and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been found in ground water at isolated locations. Nitrate has not been detected above the USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 milligrams per liter as N; however, nitrate has been found in some locations at levels that may indicate the effects of fertilizer application or effluent from septic systems.

Between June 7 and July 1, 1999, USGS personnel collected a total of 31 water-quality samples from wells completed in glacial deposits, the Pottsville Formation, the Cuyahoga Group, and the Berea Sandstone. All samples were analyzed for VOCs, sulfide, dissolved organic carbon, major ions, trace elements, alkalinity, total coliforms, and Escherichia coli bacteria. Fourteen of the samples also were analyzed for tritium.

Water-quality data were used to determine (1) suitability of water for drinking, (2) age of ground water, (3) stratigraphic variation in water quality, (4) controls on water quality, and (5) temporal variation in water quality.

Water from 16 of the 31 samples exceeded the Geauga County General Health District’s standard of 0 colonies of total coliform bacteria per 100 milliliters of water. Esthetically based SMCLs were exceeded in the indicated number of wells for pH (8), sulfate (1), dissolved solids (3), iron (19), and manganese (18). Hydrogen sulfide was detected at or above the detection limit of 0.01 milligram per liter in 17 of the 31 water samples.

A range of water types was found among and within the four principal stratigraphic units. The waters can be categorized in three groups based on predominant anion type: bicarbonatetype waters, chloride-type waters, and sulfatetype waters.

Chloride-to-bromide ratio analyses indicate that water from 8 of the 31 wells is in some way affected by human activity. Five other samples were in a chloride-to-bromide ratio range that could indicate possible effects of human activity.

Ground-water-quality data from the current study were compared to data collected in 1986. Statistical analyses of data from the 16 wells that were sampled in both years did not indicate any significant changes that could be attributed to human activity.

Suggested Citation

Jagucki, Martha L., and Darner, Robert A., 2001, Ground-water quality in Geauga County, Ohio — Review of previous studies, status in 1999, and comparison of 1986 and 1999 data: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001–4160, 66 p.,

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Description of Study Area
  • Previous Studies
  • Methods of Study
  • Ground-Water Quality
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix A: Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Ground-water quality in Geauga County, Ohio — Review of previous studies, status in 1999, and comparison of 1986 and 1999 data
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 2001–4160
DOI 10.3133/wri014160
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Ohio Water Science Center
Description vi, 61 p.
Country United States
State Ohio
County Geauga County
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details