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Ground-water quality in the West Salt River Valley, Arizona, 1996-98: relations to hydrogeology, water use, and land use

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4126

Prepared in cooperation with National Water-Quality Assessment Program
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey collected and analyzed ground-water samples in the West Salt River Valley from 64 existing wells selected by a stratified-random procedure. Samples from an areally distributed group of 35 of these wells were used to characterize overall ground-water quality in the basin-fill aquifer. Analytes included the principal inorganic constituents, trace constituents, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds. Additional analytes were tritium, radon, and stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. Analyses of replicate samples and blank samples provided evidence that the analyses of the ground-water samples were adequate for interpretation. The median concentration of dissolved solids in samples from the 35 wells was 560 milligrams per liter, which exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for drinking water. Eleven of the 35 samples had a nitrate concentration (as nitrogen) that exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level for drinking water of 10 milligrams per liter. Pesticides were detected in eight samples; concentrations were below the Maximum Contaminant Levels. Deethylatrazine was most commonly detected. The pesticides were detected in samples from wells in agricultural or urban areas that have been irrigated. Concentrations of all trace constituents, except arsenic, were less than the Maximum Contaminant Levels. The concentration of arsenic exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level of 50 micrograms per liter in two samples.


Nine monitoring wells were constructed in an area near Buckeye to assess the effects of agricultural land use on shallow ground water. The median concentration of dissolved solids was 3,340 milligrams per liter in samples collected from these wells in August 1997. The nitrate concentration (as nitrogen) exceeded the Maximum Contaminant Level (10 milligrams per liter) in samples from eight of the nine monitoring wells in August 1997 and again in February 1998. Analyses of all samples collected from the monitoring wells indicated low concentrations of pesticides and volatile organic compounds. The most frequently detected pesticides were deethylatrazine and atrazine. Trichloromethane (chloroform) and tetrachloroethene (PCE) were the most frequently detected volatile organic compounds in the monitoring wells. Two compounds [dieldrin and 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-dichlorodiphenyl)ethylene (DDE)], decomposition products of two banned pesticides, aldrin and dichlorodiphenylethylene (DDT), were detected at low concentrations in samples analyzed for the agricultural land-use study. In the West Salt River Valley, a high concentration of the heavier oxygen isotope?oxygen-18?in ground water generally indicates effects of evaporation on recharge water from irrigation.


Wells in undeveloped areas and wells that have openings beneath a confining bed generally yield ground water that is free of the effects of irrigation seepage. Samples from these wells did not contain detectable concentrations of pesticides. The median concentrations of nitrate (as nitrogen) and dissolved solids in samples from wells in undeveloped areas were 1.7 milligrams per liter and 257 milligrams per liter, respectively. The median concentrations of nitrate (as nitrogen) and dissolved solids in samples from wells that yield water from below confining beds were 2.0 and 747 milligrams per liter, respectively.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-water quality in the West Salt River Valley, Arizona, 1996-98: relations to hydrogeology, water use, and land use
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
2001-4126
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Tucson, AZ
Description:
vii, 58 p.
Number of Pages:
66
Country:
United States
State:
Arizona
Other Geospatial:
West Salt River Valley;Arizona
Projection:
Albers Equal-Area Conic projection
Scale:
100000