OFR 95-770

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Collins, J.J., 1996, Reconnaissance of water quality at four swine farms in Jackson County, Florida, 1993: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 95-770, 33 p.


The quality of ground water on four typical swine farms in Jackson County, Florida, was studied by analyzing water samples from wastewater lagoons, monitoring wells, and supply wells. Water samples were collected quarterly for 1 year and analyzed for the following dissolved species: nitrate, nitrite, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfate, chloride, calcium, magnesium, fluoride, total ammonium plus organic nitrogen, total phosphorus, alkalinity, carbonate, and bicarbonate. Additionally, the following field constituents were determined in the water samples: temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and fecal streptococcus and fecal coliform bacteria.

Chemical changes in swine waste as it leaches and migrates through the saturated zone were examined by comparing median values and ranges of water-quality data from farm wastewater in lagoons, shallow pond, shallow monitoring wells, and deeper farm supply wells. The effects of hydrogeologic settings and swine farm land uses on shallow ground-water quality were examined by comparing the shallow ground-water-quality data set with the results of the chemical analyses of water from the Upper Floridan aquifer, and to land uses adjacent to the monitoring wells. Substantial differences occur between the quality of diluted swine waste in the wastewater lagoons, and that of the water quality found in the shallow pond, and the ground water from all but two of the monitoring wells of the four swine farms. The liquid from the wastewater lagoons and ground water from two wells adjacent to and down the regional gradient from a lagoon on one site, have relatively high values for the following properties and constituents: specific conductance, dissolved ammonia nitrogen, dissolved potassium, and dissolved chloride. Ground water from all other monitoring wells and farm supply wells and the surface water pond, have relatively much lower values for the same properties and constituents.

To determine the relation between land uses and ground-water quality on the four swine farms, ground-water-quality data were divided according to the following land uses: confined operations in which swine are kept in houses and not allowed to roam freely, and unconfined operations in which swine are allowed to roam freely in determined areas. Confined operations had lagoons to receive the diluted swine wastes washed from the houses.

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