Variables that describe well construction, hydrogeology, and land use were evaluated for use as possible indicators of the susceptibility of ground water in bedrock aquifers in the Newark Basin. New Jersey, to contamination by nitrate from the land surface. Statistical analyses were performed on data for 132 wells located throughout the Newark Basin. Concentrations of nitrate (as nitrogen) did not exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level of 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) in any of the water samples (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1991). Variables that describe hydrogeology and well construction were found not to be statistically significant in relation to concentrations of nitrate. This finding can be attributed to the complex nature of flow in bedrock aquifers and mixing of water from shallow and deep water-bearing zones that occurs within these wells, which are constructed with long open intervals. Distributions of nitrate concentrations were significantly different among land-use groups on the basis of land use within both a 400- and an 800-m radius zone of the well. The median concentrations of nitrate (as N) in water from wells in predominantly urban-residential (2.5 mg/L) and agricultural areas (1.8 mg/L) were greater than the median concentration of nitrate in water from wells in predominantly undeveloped areas (0.5 mg/L).
Additional publication details
Variables indicating nitrate contamination in Bedrock Aquifers, Newark Basin, New Jersey