Hydrogeology and Water Quality of Five Principal Aquifers in the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, Eastern Nebraska, 1994

By A.D. Druliner and J.P. Mason


Prepared in cooperation with the


This report is also available as a pdf.


July 2004


U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00–4155




The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, conducted a hydrogeologic and water-quality reconnaissance study of the five principal aquifers in deposits of Quaternary age in the Natural Resources District. The purpose of the study was to delineate the approximate extent of the aquifers, to estimate volumes of drainable water in three aquifers, to provide information that could be useful in designing future ground-water-quality monitoring, and to determine baseline
water-quality conditions in the aquifers, focusing on nitrate concentrations.


The approximate lateral boundaries of the Dwight-Valparaiso, Crete-Princeton-Adams, and Waverly aquifers were defined as areas in which the thickness of continuous sand and gravel deposits was less than 40 feet. The three aquifers were determined to contain about 1,340,000; 1,540,000; and 172,000 acre-feet of drainable water, respectively, assuming a specific yield of 0.20.


During the summer of 1994, ground-water samples were collected from 46 wells in the five aquifers and analyzed for nitrate and screened for triazine herbicides. Additionally, water samples from 39 of these wells were analyzed for major ions, iron, and manganese, and 35 were analyzed for radon.


Water-quality analyses revealed that the water in the five aquifers had specific conductances that ranged from 399 to 2,040 micro-siemens per centimeter and was a calcium-carbonate to calcium-magnesium-sodium carbonate type. The most mineralized water samples were from the Crete-Princeton-Adams aquifer, which contained a median concentration of dissolved solids of 520 milligrams per liter. Concentrations of nitrate in water samples from the aquifers ranged from less than 0.05 to 23 milligrams per liter as nitrogen, and only six water samples exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of 10 milligrams per liter. The median concentration of radon for water samples from the five aquifers was 300 picocuries per liter, which is the proposed Maximum Contaminant Level. Water samples from the Crete-Princeton-Adams and Waverly aquifers had the largest concentrations of radon among the five aquifers. The Crete-Princeton-Adams aquifer had a median concentration of 440 picocuries per liter, and the Waverly aquifer had a median concentration of 390 picocuries per liter. Herbicides were detected in water from only six wells, which were in four of the five aquifers. Atrazine, metabolites of atrazine, metolachlor, and metribuzin were detected in concentrations generally less than 1.00 microgram per liter.




Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area

Location and Surface Features

Hydrogeologic Setting



Land Use

Previous Investigations



Aquifer Delineation and Drainable-Volume Estimation

Ground-Water-Quality Sample Collection and Analysis

Well Selection

Site Identification

Water-Quality Sample Collection

Laboratory Analyses

Statistical Analyses

Quality Assurance and Quality Control


General Description of the Western Part of Lower Platte South Natural Resources District

Water Table

Base of Aquifers

Total Saturated Thickness

Description of Principal Aquifers

Dwight-Valparaiso Aquifer

Crete-Princeton-Adams Aquifer

Waverly Aquifer

Platte River Aquifer

Missouri River Aquifer

Ground-Water Quality

Field Measurements

Major Ions and Dissolved Solids




Quality-Assurance Results

Considerations for Future Ground-Water-Quality Monitoring





For additional information write to:


District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

Federal Building, Room 406

100 Centennial Mall North

Lincoln, NE 68508


Copies of this report can be purchased from:


U.S. Geological Survey

Information Services

Box 25296

Federal Center

Denver, CO 80225



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