Water Quality of the Quaternary and Ada-Vamoosa Aquifers on the Osage Reservation, Osage County, Oklahoma, 1997

Marvin M. Abbott

Water-Resources Investigations Report 994231

Prepared in cooperation with the Osage Tribal Council, U.S. Department of Energy, and Bureau of Indian Affairs

This report is also available as a pdf.


The project was to provide information on the quality of ground water from rural-domestic-water wells within the Osage Reservation and compare the water-quality to proximity to oil wells. About 38,500 oil wells have been drilled in the Reservation since drilling began in 1896. About 1,480 square miles or 64 percent of the Reservation is within a quarter mile of an oil well. The unconfined Quaternary sand aquifer covers about 315 square miles or about 14 percent of the Reservation and the confined Ada-Vamoosa sandstone aquifer covers about 800 square miles or about 35 percent of the Reservation. Fifty-eight percent of the Quaternary aquifer and 69 percent of the outcrop area of the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer are within a quarter mile of an oil well.

One hundred twenty domestic ground-water wells were sampled from the Quaternary and Ada-Vamoosa aquifers. Forty-nine percent of the Reservation is underlain by the aquifers. Ground-water quality is good on most of the Reservation, but the use of domestic-water-supply wells tend to minimize water-quality problems. Existing water-supply wells commonly are located in areas that produce usable volumes of potable water.

Several constituents in samples from the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer within a quarter mile of an oil well were significantly greater than from the aquifer not near oil wells. The constituents include specific conductance, dissolved solids, sodium, sulfate, chloride, bromide, and silica. These ions are probably derived from brine water. In the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer subgroups, 57 percent of the samples near oil wells and 24 percent of the samples not near oil wells had dissolved-solids concentrations greater than 500 milligrams per liter.

The water quality in the Quaternary and Ada-Vamoosa aquifers is similar in areas where no oil wells have been drilled but is significantly different for several constituents. Median concentrations of major constituents from the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer not near oil wells were less than or equal to values from the Quaternary aquifer. Sixty-four percent of the water-quality samples from the Quaternary and 51 percent from the Ada-Vamoosa aquifers have dissolved-solids concentrations less than the secondary drinking water regulations of 500 milligrams per liter. Fifty-nine percent of the aquifer samples in the Quaternary aquifer subgroups not near oil wells and 70 percent of the samples near oil wells had dissolved solids less than 500 milligrams per liter.

Areas in the Ada-Vamoosa aquifer near Hominy, Pershing, and Hula Lake have dissolved-solids concentrations greater than the secondary drinking water regulations. Water-quality samples from the Quaternary aquifer in these areas also have dissolved-solids concentrations greater than 500 milligrams per liter.




Purpose and Scope


Description of study area

Description of hydrogeologic units

Quaternary Aquifers

Pennsylvanian Age Sandstone Aquifers


Sampling Network Design

Sampling biases

Sampling Procedure and Constituent Selection

Water Quality

Quality-Assurance Sampling

Hypothesis Testing and Descriptive Statistics

Comparison of Ground-Water Quality From Quaternary and Ada-Vamoosa Aquifers

Comparison of Ground-Water Quality From Freshwater Aquifer Wells Near Oil Wells to Freshwater Aquifer Wells Not Near Oil Wells

Major Ion Chemistry Distribution

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited


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