A water-quality data base was developed to permit the investigation of the relation of concentrations of nitrate (as nitrogen) in ground water to well depth, well use, and land use (agricultural, residential, urban nonresidential, and undeveloped) in Franklin Township. Nitrate concentrations in water from 868 wells tended to decrease with depth. A rank-order regression model of nitrate concen- trations and land-use percentages was fitted to data from 98 shallow domestic wells. The model, which explains about 25 percent of the variance in the data, indicated that nitrate concentration increased with the percentage of developed land in a well's buffer zone. Further stratification of the data based on well use (commercial, domestic, or agricultural/irrigation) indicated that elevated nitrate concentrations were more common in water from agricultural/irrigation wells than in water from domestic or commercial wells. Concentrations of nitrate were indicative of human activities in water from about one-third of the wells sampled but exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's maximum contaminant level of 10 milligrams per liter in water from only 1 percent of the wells. A sampling strategy in which water from wells of different depths located within areas in each of the four land-use categories is sampled yearly and analyzed for nitrate and other constituents would facilitate determination of the effects of human activities on ground-water quality.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Relation of nitrate concentrations in ground water to well depth, well use, and land use in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, 1970-85
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],