WATER QUALITY IN SURFICIAL AQUIFERS IN TWO AGRICULTURAL AREAS IN GEORGIA, ALABAMA, AND FLORIDA

By Elizabeth A. Frick, and Christy A. Crandall

ABSTRACT

As part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program, water samples were collected from 61 shallow monitoring wells located adjacent to farm fields in parts of southwestern Georgia, southeastern Alabama, and northern Florida in 1993 and 1994. Nitrate concentrations in water from 15 percent of the wells exceeded the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standard of 10 milligrams per liter as N. These exceedences were not widespread and the surficial aquifers are not used as a source of drinking water. Trace concentrations of a total of six commonly used pesticides were detected in water samples from 44 percent of the wells, but not concentrations exceeded drinking water standards. Highest measured concentrations of the herbicides alachlor and atrazine were 28 and 14 percent of EPA drinking water standards, respectively. Volatile organic compounds were rarely detected in shallow ground water and did not exceed EPA drinking water standards. Water from 44 of the wells was analyzed for radon, a naturally occurring radioactive constituent. Radon concentrations in water from 67 percent of these wells exceeded the proposed EPA drinking water standard of 300 picocuries per liter.


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