Nitrate levels in the ground-water aquifer underlying the central Oregon city of La Pine and the surrounding area are increasing due to contamination from residential septic systems. This contamination has public health implications because ground water is the sole source of drinking water for area residents. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Deschutes County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, studied the movement and chemistry of nitrate in the aquifer and developed computer models that can be used to predict future nitrate levels and to evaluate alternatives for protecting water quality. This fact sheet summarizes the results of that study in the form of questions and answers.
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USGS Numbered Series
Questions and Answers About the Effects of Septic Systems on Water Quality in the La Pine Area, Oregon