Groundwater Quality and Nutrient Trends near Marsing, Southwestern Idaho, 2018

Open-File Report 2019-1032
Prepared in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
By:

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, sampled groundwater from 15 wells during spring 2018 near the city of Marsing in rural northwestern Owyhee County, southwestern Idaho. Samples were analyzed for field parameters, nutrients, trace elements, major inorganics, and dissolved gas, including methane. To examine trends in individual wells and in the region, ammonia and nitrate results from the spring 2018 sampling were compared with data collected from 1996 to 2015 by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Fourteen of the 15 samples collected in 2018 contained arsenic (0.13–33.8 micrograms per liter [μg/L]), with 7 arsenic concentrations greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 μg/L. Iron (465–4,180 μg/L), manganese (54–693 μg/L), sulfate (300–624 milligrams per liter [mg/L]), and total dissolved solids (511–1,350 mg/L) were detected at concentrations greater than EPA secondary maximum contaminant levels (SMCL) in water-quality samples from 6, 10, 4, and 14 of the 15 wells, respectively. Fourteen of the 15 samples contained ammonia concentrations from 0.12 to 7.34 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Six samples contained nitrate concentrations from 0.08 to 24.6 mg/L, with one sample greater than the EPA MCL of 10 mg/L for drinking water. The presence of both ammonia and nitrate in four samples indicated multiple nutrient and groundwater sources and varying redox states. Ammonia concentrations tended to increase downgradient throughout the study area.

Nutrient trend analysis identified water-quality samples from 2 of the 15 wells with increasing nitrate concentrations from 1999–2018 and 2005–2018. The well with increasing nitrate concentrations from 2005–2018 showed a decreasing trend in ammonia concentrations during the same time period. Groundwater-quality samples from the 13 remaining wells showed no temporal trends. A Regional Kendall test, which evaluates trends at numerous wells across the study area to determine if a consistent trend exists for the area, was done to analyze 539 ammonia concentrations from 91 wells over 20 years (1999–2018) and 591 nitrate concentrations from 107 wells over 23 years (1996–2018). The Regional Kendall Test for ammonia had a tau correlation coefficient of -0.073 with a p-value of 0.072, and nitrate had a tau correlation coefficient of -0.041 with a p-value of 0.198, both indicating no statistically significant trends.

Suggested Citation

Skinner, K.D., 2019, Groundwater quality and nutrient trends near Marsing, southwestern Idaho, 2018: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1032, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191032.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

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Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Trends Analysis
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Groundwater quality and nutrient trends near Marsing, southwestern Idaho, 2018
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1032
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191032
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Idaho Water Science Center
Description iv, 24 p.
Country United States
State Idaho
Other Geospatial Marsing
Online Only (Y/N) Y