Test drilling in the vicinity of Bayou Teche in St. Martin Parish in southern Louisiana has disclosed a zone of soft water in the basal unit of the Chicot aquifer; the Chicot aquifer system blankets all southwestern Louisiana. Fresh water, which is defined as containing 250 milligrams per liter chloride or less, in the Chicot aquifer is characteristically hard and high in iron concentration; in this area the hardness is generally 200-300 milligrams per liter. The soft-water zone, containing water with a hardness of less than 60 milligrams per liter, is anomalous and occurs in an area where the basal part of the aquifer is separated from the main body of the aquifer by a thick clay layer. The zone has been mapped in parts of St. Martin and adjoining Lafayette Parishes.
Although the exact areal extent of the zone cannot be determined with available data, it appears to be sufficiently large that the soft water should prove to be an important asset to the area. The water could be used by itself or mixed with either hard or slightly salty water (more than 250 milligrams per liter chloride) to provide a blend that would require little or no treatment for most purposes. Because of the proximity of salty water in much of the area, careful planning and monitoring will be necessary to maintain the soft-water zone as a dependable supply of usable water. The soft water appears to be an exhaustible supply; however, its useful life as a resource can be maximized by proper management.
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USGS Numbered Series
Soft-water zone in the Chicot Aquifer, Bayou Teche area, Louisiana