Baseline water quality and preliminary effects of artificial recharge on ground water, south-central Kansas, 1995-98

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4250

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To investigate the feasbility of artificial recharge as a method of meeting future water-supply needs and to protect the Equus Beds aquifer from saltwater intrusion from natural and anthropogenic sources to the west, the Equus Beds Ground-Water Recharge from Demonstration Project was begun in 1995. The project is a cooperative effort between the city of Wichita and the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior. During the project, high flows from the Little Arkansas River are captured and recharged into the Equus Beds aquifer through recharge basins, a trench, or a recharge well, located at two recharge sites near Halstead and Sedgwick, Kansas. To document baseline concentrations and compatibility of stream (recharge) and aquifer water, the U.S. Geological Survey collected water samples from February 1995 through August 1998. These samples were analyzed for dissolved solids, total and dissolved inorganic constituents, nutrients, organic and volatile organic compounds, radionuclides, and bacteria. Results of baseline sampling indicated that the primary constituents of concern for recharge were sodium, chloride, nitrite plus nitrate, iron and manganese, total coliform bacteria, and atrazine. Chloride and atrazine were of particular concern because concentrations of these constituents in water from the Little Arkansas River frequently exceeded regulatory criteria. The Little Arkansas River is used as the source water for recharge. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for chloride is 250 mg/L (milligrams per liter), and the Maximum Contaminant Level for atrazine is 3.0 ?g/L (micrograms per liter) as an annual mean. Baseline concentrations of chloride in surface water ranged from 8.0 to 400 ?g/L. Baseline concentrations of atrazine in surface water ranged from less than 0.10 to 46 ?g/L. Concentrations of chloride and atrazine have increased in water from some of the wells at both the Halstead and Sedgwick recharge sites after recharge began, although concentrations remained within the range of baseline values in the Equus Beds aquifer and are considerably less than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water criteria. However, a substantial quantity of water has not been recharged at the Sedgwick site to determine the overall effects of artificial recharge on aquifer quality. Continued monitoring is necessary to determine long-term effects at both sites. Major ion and trace element concentrations in source water and receiving water were analyzed to determine the compatibility of recharge and receiving ground water for artificial recharge. Stiff diagrams of major ions were used to show the similarity or differences between source surface water and receiving ground water. The water from both sources, for the most part, was chemically compatible to the receiving aquifer water at both recharge sites. It may be possible to decrease the monitoring frequency at the Halstead recharge site because water-quality changes in receiving water at this site are very gradual. However, real-time water-quality monitoring of surrogates needs to be site specific for the determination of chloride and atrazine. Real-time water-quality monitoring potentially can be used to more effectively manage the artificial recharge process, enabling project officials to respond more rapidly to changes in water quality.

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USGS Numbered Series
Baseline water quality and preliminary effects of artificial recharge on ground water, south-central Kansas, 1995-98
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
vi, 74 p. :ill. (some col.), col. maps ;28 cm.