Water quality of selected springs and public-supply wells, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1992-97

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4063




This report presents results of a water-quality study for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The study was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Water Resources Department of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Discharge and water-quality data were collected during 1992-97 for 14 contact springs located in the northwestern part of the Reservation. Data were collected to evaluate potential alternative sources of water supply for the village of Red Shirt, which currently obtains water of marginal quality from a well completed in the Inyan Kara aquifer. During 1995-97, water-quality data also were collected for 44 public-supply wells that serve about one-half of the Reservation's population. Quality-assurance sampling was used to evaluate the precision and accuracy of environmental samples. Ten of the springs sampled contact the White River Group, and four contact the Pierre Shale. Springs contacting the White River Group range from calcium bicarbonate to sodium bicarbonate water types. Two springs contacting the Pierre Shale have water types similar to this; however, sulfate is the dominant anion for the other two springs. In general, springs contacting the White River Group are shown to have better potential as alternative sources of water supply for the village of Red Shirt than springs contacting the Pierre Shale. Nine of the springs with better water quality were sampled repeatedly; however, only minor variability in water quality was identified. Six of these nine springs, of which five contact the White River Group, probably have the best potential for use as water supplies. Discharge from any of these six springs probably would provide adequate water supply for Red Shirt during most periods, based on a limited number of discharge measurements collected. Concentrations of lead exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) action level of 15 ?g/L for three of these six springs. Five of these six springs also had arsenic concentrations that exceeded 10 ?g/L, which could be problematic if the current maximum contaminant level (MCL) is lowered. Blending of water from one or more springs with water from the existing Inyan Kara well may be an option to address concerns regarding both quantity and quality of existing and potential sources. All nine springs that were sampled for indicator bacteria had positive detections on one or more occasions during presumptive tests. Although USEPA standards for bacteria apply only to public-water supplies, local residents using spring water for domestic purposes need to be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming untreated water. One spring contacting the White River Group and two springs contacting the Pierre Shale exceeded 15 pCi/L for gross alpha; these values do not necessarily constitute exceedances of the MCL, which excludes radioactivity contributed by uranium and radon. Additional sampling using different analysis techniques would be needed to conclusively determine if any samples exceeded this MCL. Nine springs were sampled for selected pesticides and tritium. The pesticides atrazine, carbaryl, and 2,4-D were not detected in any of the samples. The nine springs were analyzed for tritium in order to generally assess the age of the water and to determine if concentrations exceeded the MCL established for gross beta-particle activity. Tritium results indicated two springs are composed primarily of water recharged prior to atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs and two other springs have a relatively large percentage of test-era water. The remaining five springs had tritium values that indicated some percentage of test-era water; however, additional sampling would be needed to determine whether water is predominantly pre- or post-bomb age. Of the 44 public-supply wells sampled, 42 are completed in the Arikaree aquifer, one is completed in an alluvial aquifer, and one is completed in the Inyan Kara aquifer. Water

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Water quality of selected springs and public-supply wells, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1992-97
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
iv, 61 p. :ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ;28 cm.