Ground water vulnerability maps developed using the DRASTIC method have been produced in many parts of the world. Comparisons of those maps with actual ground water quality data have shown that the DRASTIC method is typically a poor predictor of ground water contamination. This study significantly improved the effectiveness of a modified DRASTIC ground water vulnerability map by calibrating the point rating schemes to actual ground water quality data by using nonparametric statistical techniques and a geographic information system. Calibration was performed by comparing data on nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen (NO2 + NO3-N) concentrations in ground water to land-use, soils, and depth to first-encountered ground water data. These comparisons showed clear statistical differences between NO2 + NO3-N concentrations and the various categories. Ground water probability point ratings for NO2 + NO3-N contamination were developed from the results of these comparisons, and a probability map was produced. This ground water probability map was then correlated with an independent set of NO2 + NO3-N data to demonstrate its effectiveness in predicting elevated NO2 + NO3-N concentrations in ground water. This correlation demonstrated that the probability map was effective, but a vulnerability map produced with the uncalibrated DRASTIC method in the same area and using the same data layers was not effective. Considerable time and expense have been outlaid to develop ground water vulnerability maps with the DRASTIC method. This study demonstrates a cost-effective method to improve and verify the effectiveness of ground water vulnerability maps.
Additional Publication Details
Calibration of the DRASTIC ground water vulnerability mapping method