In 1998, the relative susceptibility of ground water in Orange County, North Carolina,to contamination from surface and shallow sources was evaluated. A geographic information system was used to build three county-wide layers--soil permeability, land use/land cover, and land-surface slope. The harmonic mean permeability of soil layers was used to estimate a location's capacity to transmit water through the soil.
Values for each of these three factors were categorized and ranked from 1 to 10 according to relative potential for contamination. Each factor was weighted to reflect its relative potential contribution to ground-water contamination, then the factors were combined to create a relative susceptibility index. The relative susceptibility index was categorized to reflect lowest, low, moderate, high, and highest potential for ground-water contamination.
The relative susceptibility index for about 12 percent of the area in Orange County was categorized as high or highest. The high and highest range areas have highly permeable soils, land cover or land-use activities that have a high contamination potential, and low to moderate slopes. Most of the county is within the moderate category of relative susceptibility to ground-water contamination. About 21 percent of the county is ranked as low or lowest relative susceptibility to ground-water contamination.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Susceptibility of ground water to surface and shallow sources of contamination, Orange County, North Carolina
South Atlantic Water Science Center
1 over-size sheet, scale 1:126,720 (1 inch = 2 miles).