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Arsenic and selenium in soils and shallow ground water in the Turtle Lake, New Rockford, Harvey Pumping, Lincoln Valley, and LaMoure irrigation areas of the Garrison Diversion Unit, North Dakota

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4205

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Abstract

The Garrison Diversion Unit project was authorized as part of the Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin program to divert water from Lake Sakakawea to irrigation areas in North Dakota. A special GarrisonCommission was created to evaluate an environmental concern that return flow from the irrigation areas might contain metals in toxic concentrations. This report summarizes the results of detailed investigations of the Turtle Lake, New Rockford, Harvey Pumping, Lincoln Valley, and LaMoure irrigation areas. A total of 223 soil samples were collected from the irrigation areas and analyzed for elemental composition. Water extractions were done on 40 of the 223 soil samplesusing a 1:5 soil-to-water extraction method, and the solution from the extraction was analyzed for elemental composition. A total of 52 ground-water samples were collected and analyzed for inorganic constituents and organic carbon. Average arsenic concentrations in the entire soil column ranged from 1.0 milligram per kilogram in the Harvey Pumping irrigation area to 70milligrams per kilogram in the New Rockford irrigation area. Average selenium concentrations ranged from less than 0.1 milligram per kilogramin the Turtle Lake, New Rockford, Harvey Pumping, and Lincoln Valley irrigation areas to 6.0 milligrams per kilogram in the Turtle Lakeirrigation area. In the Turtle Lake irrigation area, average arsenic and selenium concentrations generally increased with depth through the topsoil, oxidized soil, and transition soil but decreased in the reduced soil at the bottom of the sampled horizons.Average arsenic concentrations in the New Rockford irrigation area follow the same pattern as in the Turtle Lake irrigation area, but selenium concentrations do not show a clear pattern of variation with depth. In the Harvey Pumping and Lincoln Valley irrigation areas, arsenic andselenium concentrations do not appear to vary systematically with depth. No correlation is shown between the concentrations in soils and soilextracts, indicating that, based on conditions of laboratory soil-water extraction experiments, trace- element concentrations in soils are not good predictors of trace-element concentrations in irrigation return flow. Arsenic concentrations in the aquifers ranged from less than 1 microgram per liter to 27 micrograms per liter. Arsenic concentrations generally were larger in the deep part of the aquifers underlying the Turtle Lake and New Rockford irrigation areas than in the shallow part of the aquifers. In the shallow part of the aquifers, where oxidizing conditions prevail, arsenic is strongly adsorbed to soil particles.In the deep part of the aquifers, where reducing conditions prevail, arsenic is more mobile. Selenium concentrations in the aquifers ranged from less than 1 microgram per liter to 4 micrograms per liter. Little difference existed between the selenium concentrations in the shallow part of the aquifers underlying the irrigation areas and the concentrations in the deep part of the aquifers.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Arsenic and selenium in soils and shallow ground water in the Turtle Lake, New Rockford, Harvey Pumping, Lincoln Valley, and LaMoure irrigation areas of the Garrison Diversion Unit, North Dakota
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
96-4205
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
v, 197 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.