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Ground-water quality assessment of the Georgia-Florida Coastal Plain study unit; analysis of available information on nutrients, 1972-92

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4039

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey is conducting an assessment of water quality in the Georgia-Florida Coastal Plain study unit as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program. An initial activity of the program is to compile and analyze existing water-quality data for nutrients in each study unit. Ground-water quality data were compiled from three data sources, the U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Georgia Geologic Survey. A total of 2,246 samples of ground water nutrient data for nitrogen and phosphorus species were compiled from these three data sources. Estimates of 1990 nitrogen and phosphorus inputs by county in the study area were calculated from livestock manure, fertilizers, septic tanks, and rainfall. Data for nitrate nitrogen concentrations in ground water were available from the greatest number of wells; samples from 1,233 wells were available in the U.S. Geological Survey, 820 wells from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and 680 wells from the Georgia Geologic Survey. The maximum contaminant level for nitrate nitrogen in drinking water of 10 milligrams per liter was exceeded in a higher percentage of samples from the U.S. Geological Survey, mostly because this data contained numerous samples near known contamination areas. The maximum contaminant level for nitrate nitrogen was exceeded in 3 percent of samples from Upper Floridan aquifer and 12 percent of samples from surficial aquifer system in U.S. Geological Survey data and less than 1 percent and 2 percent of samples from the Upper Floridan aquifer and surficial aquifer system, respectively, in Florida Department of Environmental Protection data. In Georgia Geologic Survey data, 1 percent of samples had concentrations of nitrate nitrogen exceeding 10 milligrams per liter. Nutrient concentration data were grouped into categories based on land use, hydrogeology (aquifer and confinement of the Upper Floridan aquifer), and land resource provinces (Central Florida Ridge, Coastal Flatwoods and Southern Coastal Plain) for the surficial aquifer system. The highest median nitrate nitrogen concentrations in the U.S. Geological Survey data were 0.4 milligrams per liter in ground-water samples from the unconfined Upper Floridan aquifer in agricultural areas and 9.0 milligrams per liter in samples from the surficial aquifer system in agricultural areas in the Central Florida Ridge. In Florida Department of Environmental Protection data, the highest median nitrate nitrogen concentrations were much lower and did not exceed 0.2 milligrams per liter in either the Upper Floridan aquifer or the surficial aquifer system. In Georgia Geologic Survey data the highest median nitrate nitrogen concentration was 1.4 milligrams per liter in agricultural areas in the Coastal Flatwoods. Highest median concentrations of total nitrogen of 10 milligrams per liter (includes nitrate, ammonia, and organic nitrogen) were in U.S. Geological Survey data in the surficial aquifer system in agricultural areas in the Central Florida Ridge. Median concentrations of ammonia nitrogen, orthophosphate phosphorus, and total phosphorus did not exceed 0.5 milligrams per liter in all categories from the Upper Floridan aquifer or the surficial aquifer system.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Ground-water quality assessment of the Georgia-Florida Coastal Plain study unit; analysis of available information on nutrients, 1972-92
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
95-4039
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
vii, 39 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.