The principal dissolved constituents in water in the Spokane aquifer are calcium and bicarbonate. These constituents (as well as dissolved solids, hardness, and magnesium) each correlate well with specific conductance, whereas chloride, sodium, and nitrate each do not. Specific conductance ranges from 73 to 820 micromhos per centimeter throughout the study area. Short-term variations in water quality in the Spokane aquifer are generally greater than long-term variations.
Vertical variations in concentration of chemical constituents occurred in four of 15 wells used to sample the upper 50 feet of the aquifer along several cross sections. Changes in water quality from one cross section to another could not be directly related to land-use activities.
A digital model was developed and used to simulate solute transport of conservative ions in the Spokane aquifer. Specifically, the model was used to estimate the impact of the chloride ion from recharge through septic tanks and from irrigation on the water quality of the aquifer. Analysis shows that the estimated impact on the aquifer from these two source loadings was less than a 1-milligram-per-liter increase throughout approximately 80 percent of the aquifer, but increases averaging about 3 milligrams per liter occurred in some peripheral areas. Various water-quality-management schemes based on manmade or natural stresses can be tested with the model.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaluation of water-quality characteristics of part of the Spokane Aquifer, Washington and Idaho, using a solute-transport digital model