The ground-water resource potential of Chippewa Township, Isabella County, Mich. was characterized on the basis of existing hydrogeologic data, water-level records, analyses of water samples, and interpretation of geophysical survey data. Eight ground-water samples were collected and analyzed for major ions, nutrients, and trace-metal composition. In addition, 10 direct current-resistivity soundings were collected throughout Chippewa and Coe Townships to identify potential freshwater in the aquifer system. The aquifer system includes complexly interbedded glaciofluvial, glaciolacustrine, and basal-lodgment tills, which overlie Jurassic or Pennsylvanian sedimentary rocks. In parts of the township, freshwater is present in all geologic units, but in most areas saline water is encountered near the base of Pleistocene glacial deposits and in the Jurassic or Pennsylvanian bedrock. A near-surface sheet of relatively dense basal-lodgment till likely prevents, or substantially retards, significant direct recharge of ground water to glacial and bedrock aquifers in Chippewa and adjacent townships.
Glacial sands and gravels form the principal aquifer for domestic wells (97.5 percent of wells in the township). The single community water supply in the township has wells screened in glacial deposits near the base of the glacial drift. Increased withdrawals of ground water in response to increasing demand has led to a slight decline in water quality from this supply. This water-quality decline is related primarily to an increase of dissolved sulfate, which is probably a function of well depth and dissolution of gypsum, a common mineral constituent in the Jurassic 'red beds,' which form the uppermost bedrock unit throughout most of the township. One explanation for the increase in sulfate is upconing of saline water from bedrock sources, which may contain saline water.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and Ground-Water Quality, Chippewa Township, Isabella County, Michigan, 2002-05