Water samples were collected from 11 public-supply wells and 11 private domestic wells in the Lake Champlain basin in New York during the fall of 2004 to characterize the chemical quality of ground water. Wells were selected for sampling based on location and focused on areas of greatest ground-water use. Samples were analyzed for 219 physical properties and constituents, including inorganic compounds, nutrients, metals, radionuclides, pesticides and pesticide degradates, volatile organic compounds, and bacteria.
Sixty-eight constituents were detected at concentrations above laboratory reporting levels. The cation and anion with the highest median concentration were calcium (34.8 mg/L) bicarbonate (134 mg/L), respectively. The predominant nutrient was nitrate, which was detected in 14 (64 percent) of the 22 samples. The two metals with the highest median concentrations were iron (175 ?g/L) and strontium (124 ?g/L); concentrations of iron, manganese, aluminum, and zinc exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secondary drinking-water standards in one or more samples. Radon concentrations were less than 1,000 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) in most samples, but concentrations as high as 6,900 pCi/L were detected and, in eight samples, exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed maximum contaminant level (300 pCi/L) for radon. The most frequently detected pesticides were degradates of the broadleaf herbicides metolachlor, alachlor, and atrazine. Volatile organic compounds were detected in only three samples; those that were detected typically were fuel oxygenates, such as methyl tert-butyl ether. Coliform bacteria were detected in four samples, two of which also tested positive for E. coli.