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Reconnaissance of hydrology, land use, ground-water chemistry, and effects of land use on ground-water chemistry in the Albuquerque-Belen basin, New Mexico

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4174

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Abstract

In 1984, the U.S. Geological Survey began regional assessments of groundwater contamination in 14 areas, one of which was the Albuquerque-Belen basin. Groundwater recharge occurs along the basin margins. Groundwater discharge occurs as evapotranspiration in the Rio Grande valley, pumpage, and groundwater flow to the Socorro basin. Open-space land use, which primarily is used for grazing livestock, occupies the majority of the basin. In the Rio Grande valley, agricultural and residential land uses are predominant; in the area near Albuquerque, the land also is used for commercial, institutional , and industrial purposes. The Albuquerque-Belen basin was divided into seven zones on the basis of water chemistry. These water-chemistry zones indicate that large variations in water chemistry exist in the basin as the result of natural processes. Groundwater in the majority of the Albuquerque-Belen basin has a relatively low susceptibility to contamination because the depth to water is > 100 ft and there is virtually no natural mechanism for recharge to the groundwater system. Groundwater in the Rio Grande valley has a relatively high susceptibility to contamination because the depth to water is generally < 30 ft and there are many types of recharge to the groundwater system. Changes in land use may cause changes in the chemical composition of recharge to the groundwater system. The relatively large concentrations of dissolved iron in the Rio Grande valley near Albuquerque may result from the change from agricultural land use to residential land use. Recharge associated with agricultural land use is relatively oxidized because the water is in equilibrium with the atmosphere, whereas recharge associated with residential land use (onsite waste-disposal effluent) is relatively reduced and has larger concentrations of organic carbon, biological oxygen demand, and chemical oxygen demand. The constituents in the onsite waste-disposal effluent could cause reducing conditions in the aquifer and the subsequent dissolution of iron and manganese oxides. Trace metals adsorbed to these iron and manganese oxides could be remobilized in groundwater after dissolution of the oxides. (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reconnaissance of hydrology, land use, ground-water chemistry, and effects of land use on ground-water chemistry in the Albuquerque-Belen basin, New Mexico
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
86-4174
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1987
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 37 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.