Water samples were collected from a network of 72 shallow monitoring wells to assess the chemical quality of recently recharged ground water in the surficial Kirkwood- Cohansey aquifer system of southern New Jersey. The wells are randomly distributed among agricultural, urban, and undeveloped areas to provide data representative of chemical conditions of ground water underlying each of these land-use settings. Samples were analyzed for nutrients, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOC?s). Concentrations of nitrate were highest in agricultural areas, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 10 mg/L (milligrams per liter) as nitrogen was exceeded in 60 percent of the samples. Concentrations of nitrate were intermediate in urban areas, where the 10-mg/L concentration was exceeded in only 1 of 44 samples. All concentrations in samples from undeveloped areas were less than 1.0 mg/L. Pesticides and VOC?s were frequently detected; however, concentrations were low and rarely exceeded established or proposed USEPA or N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) drinking-water regulations. With the exception of the agricultural pesticide dinoseb, established regulations are at least 2.9 times the maximum concentration for pesticides and at least 5 times the maximum concentration for VOC?s reported in the samples from the 72- well network. Investigations by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are ongoing in southern New Jersey to evaluate the (1) presence and concentration of pesticide-degradation byproducts in shallow ground water; (2) presence and movement of nitrate, pesticides, and VOC?s in the atmosphere, streams, unsaturated zone, and aquifers; (3) transport and fate of these compounds as they migrate deeper into the aquifer system; and (4) implications of these findings for the integrity of the regional water supply.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Occurrence of nitrate, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds in the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system, southern New Jersey
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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