thumbnail

Evaluation of volatile organic compounds in two Mojave Desert basins-Mojave River and Antelope Valley-in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Kern Counties, California, June-October 2002

Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5248

By:
, , , , and

Links

Abstract

The California Aquifer Susceptibility Assessment of the Ground-Water Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program was developed to assess water quality and susceptibility of ground-water resources to contamination from surficial sources. This study focuses on the Mojave River and the Antelope Valley ground-water basins in southern California. Volatile organic compound (VOC) data were evaluated in conjunction with tritium data to determine a potential correlation with aquifer type, depth to top of perforations, and land use to VOC distribution and occurrence in the Mojave River and the Antelope Valley Basins. Detection frequencies for VOCs were compiled and compared to assess the distribution in each area. Explanatory variables were evaluated by comparing detection frequencies for VOCs and tritium and the number of compounds detected. Thirty-three wells were sampled in the Mojave River Basin (9 in the floodplain aquifer, 15 in the regional aquifer, and 9 in the sewered subset of the regional aquifer). Thirty-two wells were sampled in the Antelope Valley Basin. Quality-control samples also were collected to identify, quantify, and document bias and variability in the data. Results show that VOCs generally were detected slightly more often in the Antelope Valley Basin samples than in the Mojave River Basin samples. VOCs were detected more frequently in the floodplain aquifer than in the regional aquifer and the sewered subset. Tritium was detected more frequently in the Mojave River Basin samples than in the Antelope Valley Basin samples, and it was detected more frequently in the floodplain aquifer than in the regional aquifer and the sewered subset. Most of the samples collected in both basins for this study contained old water (water recharged prior to 1952). In general, in these desert basins, tritium need not be present for VOCs to be present. When VOCs were detected, young water (water recharge after 1952) was slightly more likely to be contaminated than old water. Trihalomethanes (THMs) were detected less frequently in the Mojave River Basin samples than in the Antelope Valley Basin samples. The THMs that were detected in the Mojave River Basin were detected more frequently in the floodplain aquifer than in the regional aquifer and sewered subset. Solvents were detected more frequently in the Mojave River samples than in the Antelope Valley samples. In the Mojave River Basin samples, solvents were detected less frequently in the floodplain aquifer than in the regional aquifer and the sewered subset. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) were not detected in either study area. Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) was detected in one sample from both the Mojave River and Antelope Valley Basins. The most frequently detected compound (detected in more than 10 percent of the wells) in the Mojave River Basin was chloroform. The two most frequently detected compounds in the Antelope Valley Basin were chloroform and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). In the Mojave River Basin, aquifer type and land use within 1,640 ft (500 m) of the well head were not statistically correlated with the number of VOCs detected, although VOCs were detected more frequently in the floodplain aquifer than in the regional aquifer and the sewered subset. Depth to the top of the perforations was an explanatory factor for the number of VOCs detected in the Mojave River Basin; the detection frequency was greater for shallow wells than for deep wells. In the Antelope Valley Basin, neither aquifer type, depth to the top of the perforations, nor land use within 1,640 ft of the well head were explanatory factors for the number of VOCs detected. Although aquifer type and depth to top of the perforations did explain the presence of tritium in the Mojave River Basin, land use within 1,640 ft of the well head was not a statistically significant explanatory factor for the presence of tritium in this basin. Aquifer type, depth to the top of the perfora

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Evaluation of volatile organic compounds in two Mojave Desert basins-Mojave River and Antelope Valley-in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Kern Counties, California, June-October 2002
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2004-5248
Edition:
Online only
Year Published:
2005
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
51 p.
Scale:
24000
Online Only (Y/N):
Y