Ground-water quality in the central part of the Passaic River basin, northeastern New Jersey, 1959-88

Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4083




Ground-water samples were collected from 71 wells screened in or open to three aquifers in the central part of the Passaic River basin during 1959-88. Water samples from aquifers in glacial sediments and aquifers in sedimentary and igneous bedrock of the Newark Supergroup were analyzed for major ions. Most samples were analyzed for metals, nutrients, and tritium; 38 samples were analyzed for purgeable organic compounds. Calcium and bicarbonate were the predominant ions in ground water in the study area. Ground water was dilute (median dissolved-solids concentration 239 milligrams per liter) and slightly basic (median pH 7.89). Concentrations of inorganic constituents were within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) primary drinking-water regulations. Concentrations of benzene, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, however, were greater than USEPA primary drinking-water regulations in six samples. Ground-water samples from aquifers in sedimentary bedrock were enriched in barium, calcium, magnesium, strontium,and sulfate relative to samples form the other aquifers. Such ion enrichment can be attributed either to disolution of carbonate and sulfate-containing minerals or to human activities. Ground-water samples from two wells screened in glacial sediments near swamps contained sulfate in concentrations higher than the median for the aquifer. Sulfate enrichment could result from downward leaching of water enriched in sulfur from the decay of organic matter in the swamps, from the disolution of sulfate-containing minerals, or from human activities. No regional trends in the chemical composition of the ground water in the study area were identified. Sulfate concentrations in ground- water samples from the sedimentary bedrock tended to increase with decreasing altitude of the deepest opening of the well; the correlation coefficient for the ranks of sulfate concentration and the altitude of the deepest opening of the well for 17 pairs of data is -0.690. Concentrations of tritium were greater than the detection limit in 33 of 35 ground-water samples, indicating that most ground water in the study area is more recent than 1953.

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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water quality in the central part of the Passaic River basin, northeastern New Jersey, 1959-88
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; USGS Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
vi, 66 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.