Concentrations of chloride in excess of State of New Hampshire water-quality standards (230 mg/l) have been measured in watersheds adjacent to an interstate highway (I-93) in southern New Hampshire. A proposed widening plan for I-93 has raised concerns over further increases in chloride. As part of this effort, road-salt-contaminated groundwater discharge was mapped with terrain electrical conductivity (EC) electromagnetic (EM) methods in the fall of 2006 to identify potential sources of chloride during base-flow conditions to a small stream, Policy Brook. Three different EM meters were used to measure different depths below the streambed (ranging from 0 to 3 m). Results from the three meters showed similar patterns and identified several reaches where high EC groundwater may have been discharging. Based on the delineation of high (up to 350 mmhos/m) apparent terrain EC, seven-streambed piezometers were installed to sample shallow groundwater. Locations with high specific conductance in shallow groundwater (up to 2630 mmhos/m) generally matched locations with high streambed (shallow subsurface) terrain EC. A regression equation was used to convert the terrain EC of the streambed to an equivalent chloride concentration in shallow groundwater unique for this site. Utilizing the regression equation and estimates of onedimensional Darcian flow through the streambed, a maximum potential groundwater chloride load was estimated at 188 Mg of chloride per year. Changes in chloride concentration in stream water during streamflow recessions showed a linear response that indicates the dominant process affecting chloride is advective flow of chloride-enriched groundwater discharge. Published in 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Mapping of road-salt-contaminated groundwater discharge and estimation of chloride load to a small stream in southern New Hampshire, USA