Ground-water quality in east-central Idaho valleys

Open-File Report 81-1011




From May through November 1978, water quality, geologic, and hydrologic data were collected for 108 wells in the Lemhi, Pahsimeroi, Salman River (Stanley to Salmon), Big Lost River, and Little Lost River valleys in east-central Idaho. Data were assembled to define, on a reconnaissance level, water-quality conditions in major aquifers and to develop an understanding of factors that affected conditions in 1978 and could affect future ground-water quality. Water-quality characteristics determined include specific conductance, pH, water temperature, major dissolved cations, major dissolved anions, and coliform bacteria. Concentrations of hardness, nitrite plus nitrate, coliform bacteria, dissolved solids, sulfate, chloride, fluoride , iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium or bicarbonate exceed public drinking water regulation limits or were anomalously high in some water samples. Highly mineralized ground water probably is due to the natural composition of the aquifers and not to surface contamination. Concentrations of coliform bacteria that exceed public drinking water limits and anomalously high dissolved nitrite-plus-nitrite concentrations are from 15- to 20-year old irrigation wells in heavily irrigated or more densely populated areas of the valleys. Ground-water quality and quantity in most of the study area are sufficient to meet current (1978) population and economic demands. Ground water in all valleys is characterized by significant concentrations of calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate plus carbonate ions. Variations in the general trend of ground-water composition (especially in the Lemhi Valley) probably are most directly related to variability in aquifer lithology and proximity of sampling site to source of recharge. (USGS)

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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water quality in east-central Idaho valleys
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
62 p., 3 over-size sheets, ill., maps ;35 cm.