Hydrogeology and water quality of glacial-drift aquifers in the Bemidji-Bagley area, Beltrami, Clearwater, Cass, and Hubbard counties, Minnesota
Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4136
Prepared in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Bemedji-Bagley Ground-Water Study Steering Committee
- J.R. Stark, J.P. Busch, and M.H. Deters
Unconfined and the upper confined aquifers in glacial drift are the primary sources of water in a 1,600 square-mile area including parts of Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, and Hubbard Counties, Minnesota. The unconfineddrift aquifer consists of coarse sand and gravel in the center of the study area. The total area underlain by the unconfined-drift aquifer is approximately 550 square miles. The unconfined aquifer ranges in thickness from 0 to 130 feet, and is greater than 20 feet thick over an area of 280 square miles. On the basis of scant data, the transmissivity of the unconfined aquifer ranges from less than 70 feet squared per day in the south and west to greater than 8,900 feet squared per day in an area west of Bemidji. Well yields from 10 to 300 gallons per minute are possible in some areas. The unconfined and upper confined-drift aquifers are separated by a fine-grained confining unit of till or lake deposits.
The thickness of the upper confined-drift aquifer ranges from 0 to 60 feet in the Bemidji area. On the basis of specific-capacity and aquifer-thickness data, and results of model simulations, the transmissivity of the upper confined-drift aquifer ranges from less than 100 feet squared per day in the south and west parts of the aquifer to about 12,800 feet squared per day in the area around Bemidji. Well yields of 10 to 2,100 gallons per minute are possible in some areas.
The direction of ground-water flow in both unconfined and upper confineddrift aquifers is toward the Mississippi and Clearwater Rivers. These rivers are the major discharge points for both aquifers. Ground-water divides, which separate the ground-water flow systems that discharge to these rivers, are approximately coincidental with surface-water divides between the rivers.
Water from both aquifers generally is of the calcium bicarbonate type and is very hard, averaging 309 and 267 milligrams per liter as CaCO3 from confined and unconfined-drift aquifers, respectively. Water from both aquifers generally is suitable for drinking, crop irrigation, and most other uses. Concentrations of ammonia, boron, chromium, iron, manganese, and phenols, however, locally exceed recommended limits for drinking water (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 1988). Longer residence time and leakage through glacial till is believed to cause higher concentrations of common inorganic constituents in water from confined-drift aquifers than concentrations in water from the unconfined-drift aquifer. Elevated concentrations of nutrients, chloride, and phenols in the unconfined-drift aquifer may be related to land-use practices.
Statistical comparisons of common chemical constituents in water from wells completed in the unconfined-drift aquifer in several land-use areas suggest that concentrations of many constituents and physical properties are generally greater for wells in areas of commercial and residential land-use than for wells in areas of agriculture or forest land-use. These constituents include ammonia plus organic nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfate, silica, dissolved solids, and specific conductances. The mean values of ammonia nitrogen, magnesium, and fluoride are generally greater for wells in commercial land-use type areas than for wells in forested and agricultural land-use type areas. The mean concentration of nitrogen (N02 + NO3, dissolved) is generally greater for wells in residential land-use type areas than for wells in forested and agricultural land-use type areas.
The Kruskil-Wallis test, a nonparametric that for 12 of the 21 constituents sampled in groups in the unconfined-drift aquifer, a of these constituents and land use was found statistical technique, indicated common in all land-use type relation between the concentration to be statistically significant.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Hydrogeology and water quality of glacial-drift aquifers in the Bemidji-Bagley area, Beltrami, Clearwater, Cass, and Hubbard counties, Minnesota
- Series title:
- Water-Resources Investigations Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- St. Paul, MN
- Contributing office(s):
- Minnesota Water Science Center
- x, 135 p.
- United States
- Beltrami County, Cass County, Clearwater County, Hubbard County
- Other Geospatial:
- Bemidji-Bagley area
- Online Only (Y/N):
- Additional Online Files (Y/N):