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Effects of controlled agricultural practices on water quality in the Minnesota sand-plain aquifer

Open-File Report 89-267

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Abstract

Recent studies of Minnesota's sand plains indicate that ground-water chemistry is related to agricultural practices. Surficial sand-plain aquifers cover 8,000,000 acres of Minnesota and are a major source of water for domestic use, irrigation, and some municipal systems. The sand-plain aquifers consist of sand and gravel deposits that are from 20 to greater than 100 feet thick and are covered by a thin sandy loam that generally is less than 2 feet thick. Sand-plain aquifers are recharged by the downward percolation of precipitation through the soil root zone and the unsaturated zone in the sand to the water table. The water table is the upper surface of the zone of saturation and forms the top of the sand-plain aquifer. Sand-plain aquifers are susceptible to contamination by agricultural chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides), if downward-percolating recharge water contains these chemicals. The concentrations of nitrate, pesticides, and some other chemical constituents fluctuate seasonally and differ with depth below the water table (Anderson, 1989). Despite the availability of water-quality data for about 260 wells that were collected during previous studies in three U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) project areas in Minnesota, it is not known how concentrations of agricultural chemicals in ground water relate to the rate and timing of fertilizer and pesticide application or to the tillage practices used. Field-scale research is needed to determine the effects of different farming practices on the concentrations of nitrate, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals in ground water in the unsaturated and saturated zones.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effects of controlled agricultural practices on water quality in the Minnesota sand-plain aquifer
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
89-267
Year Published:
1989
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
St. Paul, MN
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
Description:
2 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota
Other Geospatial:
Rosholt Research Farm
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N