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Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5130

Prepared in cooperation with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Groundwater-Quality Characteristics for the Wyoming Groundwater-Quality Monitoring Network, November 2009 through September 2012

By Gregory K. Boughton

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (60.5 MB)Abstract

Groundwater samples were collected from 146 shallow (less than or equal to 500 feet deep) wells for the Wyoming Groundwater-Quality Monitoring Network, from November 2009 through September 2012. Groundwater samples were analyzed for physical characteristics, major ions and dissolved solids, trace elements, nutrients and dissolved organic carbon, uranium, stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen, volatile organic compounds, and coliform bacteria. Selected samples also were analyzed for gross alpha radioactivity, gross beta radioactivity, radon, tritium, gasoline range organics, diesel range organics, dissolved hydrocarbon gases (methane, ethene, and ethane), and wastewater compounds.

Water-quality measurements and concentrations in some samples exceeded numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standards. Physical characteristics and constituents that exceeded EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) in some samples were arsenic, selenium, nitrite, nitrate, gross alpha activity, and uranium. Total coliforms and Escherichia coli in some samples exceeded EPA Maximum Contaminant Level Goals. Measurements of pH and turbidity and concentrations of chloride, sulfate, fluoride, dissolved solids, aluminum, iron, and manganese exceeded EPA Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels in some samples. Radon concentrations in some samples exceeded the alternative MCL proposed by the EPA. Molybdenum and boron concentrations in some samples exceeded EPA Health Advisory Levels.

Water-quality measurements and concentrations also exceeded numerous Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) groundwater standards. Physical characteristics and constituents that exceeded WDEQ Class I domestic groundwater standards in some samples were measurements of pH and concentrations of chloride, sulfate, dissolved solids, iron, manganese, boron, selenium, nitrite, and nitrate. Measurements of pH and concentrations of chloride, sulfate, dissolved solids, aluminum, iron, manganese, boron, and selenium exceeded WDEQ Class II agriculture groundwater standards in some samples. Measurements of pH and concentrations of sulfate, dissolved solids, aluminum, boron, and selenium exceeded WDEQ Class III livestock groundwater standards in some samples. The concentrations of dissolved solids in two samples exceeded the WDEQ Class IV industry groundwater standard. Measurements of pH and concentrations of dissolved solids, aluminum, iron, manganese, and selenium exceeded WDEQ Class special (A) fish and aquatic life groundwater standards in some samples.

Stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen measured in water samples were compared to the Global Meteoric Water Line and Local Meteoric Water Lines. Results indicated that recharge to all of the wells was derived from precipitation and that the water has undergone some fractionation, possibly because of evaporation.

Concentrations of organic compounds did not exceed any State or Federal water-quality standards. Few volatile organic compounds were detected in samples, whereas gasoline range organics, diesel range organics, and methane were detected most frequently.

Concentrations of wastewater compounds did not exceed any State or Federal water-quality standards. The compounds N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), benzophenone, and phenanthrene were detected most frequently.

Bacteria samples were collected, processed, incubated, and enumerated in the field or at the U.S. Geological Survey Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center. Total coliforms and Escherichia coli were detected in some samples.

First posted September 25, 2014

Revised October 21, 2014

For additional information contact:
Director, Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3162 Bozeman Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
http://wy-mt.water.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Boughton, G.K., 2014, Groundwater-quality characteristics for the Wyoming Groundwater-Quality Monitoring Network, November 2009 through September 2012 (ver. 1.1, October 2014): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5130, 80 p., appendix, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/5130.

ISSN 2328-031X (print)

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)



Contents

Acknowledgments

Abstract

Introduction

Methods of Investigation

Water-Quality Data

Summary

References Cited

Appendix (available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2014/5130/)


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