Water-quality data are provided for four sites in Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments in north-central Arizona. These data describe the current water quality and provide baseline water-quality information for monitoring future trends.
Water samples were collected from a ground-water seep and well in Walnut Canyon and from a spring and a river in Wupatki during September 2001 to September 2002. Water from the four sites is from four different sources. In Walnut Canyon, Cherry Canyon seep is in a shallow local aquifer, and the Little Colorado River contains ground-water discharge from several aquifers and runoff from a 22,000 square-mile drainage area.
Concentrations of dissolved solids were similar within the two monuments; the range for water samples from Walnut Canyon was 203 to 248 milligrams per liter, and the range for water samples from Wupatki was 503 to 614 milligrams per liter. Concentrations of trace elements were generally low in water samples from the three ground-water sites--Cherry Canyon seep, Walnut Canyon headquarters well, and Heiser Spring. The water sample collected from the Little Colorado River, however, had high concentrations of aluminum (4,020 micrograms per liter), antimony (54 micrograms per liter), arsenic (14.3 micrograms per liter), and iron (749 micrograms per liter) relative to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Primary and Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels.
Concentrations of nitrate (as nitrogen) in water samples from the four sites were generally low (0.11 to 1.8 milligrams per liter) and are within the upper 25 percent of nitrate concentrations measured in the regional aquifer near Flagstaff in 1996 and 1997. Water samples from Cherry Canyon seep, Heiser Spring, and the Little Colorado River contained total coliform bacteria. Fecal coliform and Escherichia coli bacteria were found in water samples from Cherry Canyon seep and the Little Colorado River.