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Analysis of data on nutrients and organic compounds in ground water in the upper Snake River basin, Idaho and western Wyoming, 1980-91

Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4135

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Abstract

Nutrient and organic compound data from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency STORET data bases provided information for development of a preliminary conceptual model of spatial and temporal ground-water quality in the upper Snake River Basin. Nitrite plus nitrate (as nitrogen; hereafter referred to as nitrate) concentrations exceeded the Federal drinking-water regulation of 10 milligrams per liter in three areas in Idaho" the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the area north of Pocatello (Fort Hall area), and the area surrounding Burley. Water from many wells in the Twin Falls area also contained elevated (greater than two milligrams per liter) nitrate concentrations. Water from domestic wells contained the highest median nitrate concentrations; water from industrial and public supply wells contained the lowest. Nitrate concentrations decreased with increasing well depth, increasing depth to water (unsaturated thickness), and increasing depth below water table (saturated thickness). Kjeldahl nitrogen concentrations decreased with increasing well depth and depth below water table. The relation between kjeldahl nitrogen concentrations and depth to water was poor. Nitrate and total phosphorus concentrations in water from wells were correlated among three hydrogeomorphic regions in the upper Snake River Basin, Concentrations of nitrate were statistically higher in the eastern Snake River Plain and local aquifers than in the tributary valleys. There was no statistical difference in total phosphorus concentrations among the three hydrogeomorphic regions. Nitrate and total phosphorus concentrations were correlated with land-use classifications developed using the Geographic Information Retrieval and Analysis System. Concentrations of nitrate were statistically higher in area of agricultural land than in areas of rangeland. There was no statistical difference in concentrations between rangeland and urban land and between urban land and agricultural land. There was no statistical difference in total phosphorus concentrations among any of the land-use classifications. Nitrate and total phosphorus concentrations also were correlated with land-use classifications developed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources for the Idaho part of the upper Snake River Basin. Nitrate concentrations were statistically higher in areas of irrigated agriculture than in areas of dryland agriculture and rangeland. There was no statistical difference in total phosphorus concentrations among any of the Idaho Department of Water Resources land-use classifications. Data were sufficient to assess long-term trends of nitrate concentrations in water from only eight wells: four wells north of Burley and four wells northwest of Pocatello. The trend in nitrate concentrations in water from all wells in upward. The following organic compounds were detected in ground water in the upper Snake River Basin: cyanazine, 2,4-D DDT, dacthal, diazinon, dichloropropane, dieldrin, malathion, and metribuzin. Of 211 wells sampled for organic compounds, water from 17 contained detectable concentrations.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Analysis of data on nutrients and organic compounds in ground water in the upper Snake River basin, Idaho and western Wyoming, 1980-91
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
94-4135
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Idaho Water Science Center
Description:
iii, 40 p.
Number of Pages:
45
Time Range Start:
1980-01-01T12:00:00
Time Range End:
1991-12-31T12:00:00
Country:
United States
State:
Idaho;Montana;Nevada;Utah;Wyoming
Other Geospatial:
Snake River Basin