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Postflood occurrence of selected agricultural chemicals and volatile organic compounds in near-surface unconsolidated aquifers in the upper Mississippi River basin, 1993

Circular 1120-G

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Abstract

The historic stream flooding and intense rainfall across the upper Mississippi River Basin during summer 1993 had an immediate effect on near-surface unconsolidated aquifers by raising the water levels closer to the land surface . The objective of this study was to determine if this flooding also had immediate effects on groundwater quality . Water samples were collected during September and October 1993 from 110 wells completed in near-surface unconsolidated aquifers and were analyzed for herbicides, herbicide metabolites, inorganic nutrients, and volatile organic compounds. The results of these samples were compared with those obtained during summer 1991 or 1992. The difference was not statistically significant in the frequency of herbicide detection, total herbicide concentration, nitrate concentration, or the frequency of volatile organic compound detection between water samples collected in 1991 and 1992 and those collected in 1993 when all 110 wells were considered collectively . However, water samples from the Missouri River alluvial aquifer had a fourfold increase in the frequency of herbicide detection . There also appears to be a relation between increases in total herbicide concentration and the occurrence of stream flooding near a well. Water samples from wells that had at least a 20-percent increase in dissolved-oxygen concentration had the greatest frequency of substantial changes in total herbicide concentration and substantial increases in nitrate concentration . Increased dissolved-oxygen concentration could indicate areas where recharge has increased as a result of extensive stream flooding and intense rainfall . An inverse relation was determined between well depth and changes (increase or decrease) in total herbicide concentration . Water in shallow wells more quickly reflect changes in water quality in response to changes in recharge. Significantly more urban residential and industrial land use was within a 30-meter radius of the well for wells in which volatile organic compounds were detected. Because water moves more slowly along ground-water flow paths compared with surface-water runoff, additional information is required to determine long-term effects of the 1993 flood on ground-water quality. 

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Postflood occurrence of selected agricultural chemicals and volatile organic compounds in near-surface unconsolidated aquifers in the upper Mississippi River basin, 1993
Series title:
Circular
Series number:
1120
Chapter:
G
Year Published:
1995
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Iowa Water Science Center
Description:
vi, 20 p.: ill. (some col.), maps; 28 cm.
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Upper Mississippi River basin
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N