Berlin Lake, in northeast Ohio, was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1943 and is used primarily for flood control for the upper reaches of the Mahoning River. The area surrounding and under the lake has been tapped for oil and natural gas production. One of the by-products of oil and gas production is concentrated salt water or brine, which might have an effect on the chemical quality of area potable-water sources. This report presents the results of a U.S. Geological Survey baseline study to collect current (2001) water and sediment-quality data and to characterize water quality in the Berlin Lake watershed.
Chloride-to-bromide ratios were used to detect the presence of brine in water samples and to indicate possible adverse effects on water quality. Analyses of ground-water samples from domestic wells in the area indicate a source of chloride and bromide, but defining the source would require more data collection.
Analyses of specific conductance and dissolved solids indicate that 78 percent (14 of 18) of the ground-water samples exceeded the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for dissolved solids in public water supplies of 500 milligrams per liter (mg/L), compared to 6 percent of samples exceeding 500 mg/L in two nearby studies.
Surface water was analyzed twice, once each during low-flow and surface runoff conditions. A comparison of the 2001 data to historical chloride concentrations, accounting for seasonal changes, does not indicate an increase in chloride loads for surface water in the area of Berlin Lake.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found in bed-sediment samples collected from the mouths of major tributaries to Berlin Lake. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are produced during the incomplete combustion of organic carbon materials such as wood and fossil fuels, and they are components of petroleum products.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water and bed-sediment quality in the vicinity of Berlin Lake, Ohio, 2001
Water-Resources Investigations Report
v, 31 p. : ill. (some col.), col. maps ; 28 cm.; 11 figs.