Growing concern over the closure of public-supply wells because of ground-water contamination has led the State Water Board to establish the Ground-Water Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. With the aid of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the program goals are to enhance understanding and provide a current assessment of ground-water quality in areas where ground water is an important source of drinking water. The Northern San Joaquin Basin GAMA study unit covers an area of approximately 2,079 square miles (mi2) across four hydrologic study areas in the San Joaquin Valley. The four study areas are the California Department of Water Resources (CADWR) defined Tracy subbasin, the CADWR-defined Eastern San Joaquin subbasin, the CADWR-defined Cosumnes subbasin, and the sedimentologically distinct USGS-defined Uplands study area, which includes portions of both the Cosumnes and Eastern San Joaquin subbasins.
Seventy ground-water samples were collected from 64 public-supply, irrigation, domestic, and monitoring wells within the Northern San Joaquin Basin GAMA study unit. Thirty-two of these samples were collected in the Eastern San Joaquin Basin study area, 17 in the Tracy Basin study area, 10 in the Cosumnes Basin study area, and 11 in the Uplands Basin study area. Of the 32 samples collected in the Eastern San Joaquin Basin, 6 were collected using a depth-dependent sampling pump. This pump allows for the collection of samples from discrete depths within the pumping well. Two wells were chosen for depth-dependent sampling and three samples were collected at varying depths within each well. Over 350 water-quality field parameters, chemical constituents, and microbial constituents were analyzed and are reported as concentrations and as detection frequencies, by compound classification as well as for individual constituents, for the Northern San Joaquin Basin study unit as a whole and for each individual study area. Results are presented in a descending order based on detection frequencies (most frequently detected compound listed first), or alphabetically when a detection frequency could not be calculated. Only certain wells were measured for all constituents and water-quality parameters.
The results of all of the analyses were compared with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and California Department of Health Services (CADHS) Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels (SMCLs), USEPA lifetime health advisories (HA-Ls), the risk-specific dose at a cancer risk level equal to 1 in 100,000 or 10E-5 (RSD5), and CADHS notification levels (NLs). When USEPA and CADHS MCLs are the same, detection levels were compared with the USEPA standard; however, in some cases, the CADHS MCL may be lower. In those cases, the data were compared with the CADHS MCL.
Constituents listed by CADHS as 'unregulated chemicals for which monitoring is required' were compared with the CADHS 'detection level for the purposes of reporting' (DLR). DLRs unlike MCLs are not health based standards. Instead, they are levels at which current laboratory detection capabilities allow eighty percent of qualified laboratories to achieve measurements within thirty percent of the true concentration.
Twenty-three volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and seven gasoline oxygenates were detected in ground-water samples collected in the Northern San Joaquin Basin GAMA study unit. Additionally, 13 tentatively identified compounds were detected. VOCs were most frequently detected in the Eastern San Joaquin Basin study area and least frequently detected in samples collected in the Cosumnes Basin study area. Dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC-12), a CADHS 'unregulated chemical for which monitoring is required,' was detected in two wells at concentrations greater than the DLR. Trihalomethanes
were the most frequently detected class of VOC constituents. Chloroform (trichloromethane) was the m
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
California GAMA Program: Ground-Water Quality Data in the Northern San Joaquin Basin Study Unit, 2005