A reconnaissance study was conducted during 1992-93 to collect background hydrologic and agricultural- chemical data for the South Skunk River alluvial aquifer near Ames, Iowa. Observation wells were drilled to characterize the surficial geologic materials of a field-scale study site and to provide locations for collecting water-level and agricultural-chemical data. Walnut Creek, a tributary to the South Skunk River, forms a lateral boundary on the northern edge of the field site. Water-level measurements showed a hydraulic-head gradient towards the South Skunk River under both wet and dry conditions at the study site. Walnut Creek appears to be losing water to the aquifer during most hydrologic conditions. More than 20 milligrams per liter of nitrate as nitrogen were present consistently in water from the southeastern part of the study site. Nitrate-as-nitrogen concentrations in water samples from other locations routinely did not exceed 10 milligrams per liter. The herbicide atrazine was detected most often, 36 of 38 times, in water samples collected from observation wells adjacent to Walnut Creek. Atrazine was not used on the study site during 1992-93, but was found frequently in water samples from Walnut Creek. Therefore, Walnut Creek appears to be a source of herbicide contamination to the alluvial aquifer.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeologic and agricultural-chemical data for the South Skunk River alluvial aquifer at a site in Story County, Iowa, 1992-93