The U.S. Geological Survey's water quality file of 4,671 wells and springs in Pennsylvania provided ground-water-quality data for Pennsylvania. The data were assembled into computer-readable format and sorted into 15 major aquifer groups based on principal lithology, physiographic province, and age. Nineteen variables in each group were summarized by the Statistical Analysis Systems UNIVARIATE procedures to produce descriptive statistics including extreme values and quartiles.
The bulk of the water-quality data are in the important aquifers in the unconsolidated Coastal Plain sediments, the Triassic sedimentary rocks, the igneous and metamorphic rocks, and the carbonate rocks. On the other hand, water-quality data for aquifer groups in the Appalachian Plateau and Valley and Ridge Province are sparse. Statewide, only six wells provide sufficient long-term data for trend analyses.
Ground-water quality in Pennsylvania is highly diverse. High concentrations of dissolved solids, iron, manganese, sulfate, and nitrate are prevalent forms of natural and manmade contamination. The unconsolidated Coastal Plain aquifers have been most severely degraded. On the other hand, some of the best quality water is found in the quartzite, sandstone, and conglomerate rock units in the Cambrian and Precambrian rocks.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Compilation of ground water quality data in Pennsylvania