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Ground-water quality and geochemistry in Carson and Eagle Valleys, western Nevada and eastern California

Open-File Report 93-33

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Abstract

Aquifers in Carson and Eagle Valleys are an important source of water for human consumption and agriculture. Concentrations of major constituents in water from the principal aquifers on the west sides of Carson and Eagle Valleys appear to be a result of natural geochemical reactions with minerals derived primarily from plutonic rocks. In general, water from principal aquifers is acceptable for drinking when compared with current (1993) Nevada State drinking-water maximum contaminant level standards. Water was collected and analyzed for all inorganic constituents for which primary or secondary drinking-water standards have been established. About 3 percent of these sites had con- stituents that exceeded one or more primary or secondary drinking-water standards have been established. About 3 percent of these sites had con- stituents that exceeded one or more primary standards and water at about 10 percent of the sites had at least one constituent that surpassed a secondary standard. Arsenic exceeded the standard in water at less than 1 percent of the principal aquifer sites; nitrate surpassed its standard in water at 3 percent of 93 sites. Water from wells in the principal aquifer with high concentrations of nitrate was in areas where septic systems are used; these concentrations indicate that contamination may be entering the wells. Concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides in water from the principal aquifers, exceed the proposed Federal standards for some constituents, but were not found t be above current (1993) State standards. The uranium concen- trations exceeded the proposed 20 micrograms per liter Federal standard at 10 percent of the sites. Of the sites analyzed for all of the inorganic constituents with primary standards plus uranium, 15 percent exceed one or more established standards. If the proposed 20 micrograms per liter standard for uranium is applied to the sampled sites, then 23 percent would exceed the standard for uranium or some other constituent with a primary drinking water standard. This represents a 50-percent increase in the frequency of exceedance. Almost all water sampled from the principal aquifers exceeds the 300 picocuries per liter proposed standard for radon. Ground-water sampling sites with the highest radon activities in water are most commonly located in the upland aquifers in the Sierra Nevada and in the principal aquifers beneath the west sides of Carson and Eagle Valleys.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-water quality and geochemistry in Carson and Eagle Valleys, western Nevada and eastern California
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
93-33
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1994
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
vi, 99 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.