Selected water-quality constituents were determined in water from 5 surface-water sites and 29 wells in Dakota County, Minnesota, to search for possible relations to selected physical factors, including waste-water discharge, agricultural 1and, Quaternary deposits, bedrock, soil-leaching potential, and water-table depth. All surface-water samples were from the Vermillion River Basin, whose hydrologic setting was studied to determine its relation to the ground-water ftow in the surrounding surficial sand aquifer. Each site was sampled from 1 to 12 times during 1990-91. A total of 198 samples were collected; selected samples were analyzed for major inorganic ions, nutrients, and triazine content. Physical factors within the area of land assumed to be contributing water to each sampling site were determined from existing mapped or digitized sources. Nitrate concentrations in ground water were related to agricultural land and soil-leaching potential. Nitrate concentrations were large (median 13.2 milligrams per liter as nitrogen) where the percentage of agricultural land in the contributing area was large (equal to or greater than 75 percent) and where the soils had a large soil-leaching potential. Nitrate concentrations were small (median 3.2 milligrams per liter as nitrogen) where the soils had a sma11 soil-leaching potential, despite a large percentage of agricultural land. The statistical relation was not particularly strong, however: the null hypothesis that sites with different soil-leaching potentials had the same nitrate concentrations in ground water was rejected by the Kruskal-Wallis test at only the probability P = 0.15 level. Water-table depth was not an important factor in the relation betwean nitrate concentrations in ground water and agricultural land. Discharge from a waste-water treatment plant provided most of the downstream loading of nitrate into the Vermiilion River mainstem. Triazines were found in small concentrations (less than 2 micrograms per liter) in the Vermillion River and its tributaries. No relation was apparent between selected water-quality constituents and either Quaternary deposits or bedrock.
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USGS Numbered Series
Hydrology and relation of selected water-quality constituents to selected physical factors in Dakota County, Minnesota, 1990-91