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Groundwater Projects

Methane in Ohio groundwater: Occurrence, isotopic characteristics, and relation to arsenic concentrations
Methane in Ohio groundwater: Occurrence, isotopic characteristics, and relation to arsenic concentrations

Studies in parts of Ohio indicate that groundwater with very high concentrations of arsenic may also contain methane gas. Methane that accumulates in closed spaces, such as wells or basements, can lead to explosions and (or) fires. It is widely known that methane can form in groundwater as a result of natural microbial processes, but not much is known where this is most likely to occur. A study is underway to document the occurrence of natural “background” methane in Ohio aquifers. In addition, the isotopic composition of the methane will be documented, and this type of information can be used to differentiate microbial methane from other sources of methane such as oil/gas drilling, leaking pipelines, coal mining, landfills, or sewers.

> Mary Ann Thomas, mathomas@usgs.gov

 

 


Arsenic in groundwater of Licking County, Ohio
Arsenic in groundwater of Licking County, Ohio (website)

Arsenic is one of the most frequently detected contaminants in Ohio groundwater. Arsenic occurs naturally in rocks and soil, and it can be released to groundwater under certain conditions. Arsenic in drinking water is linked to multiple serious health problems, but most domestic wells are never tested for arsenic. In 2012, water samples from 168 domestic wells were collected by homeowners and analyzed for arsenic at a local lab. Results indicate that almost 1 in 8 wells had arsenic concentrations greater than the health limit. The distribution of arsenic in groundwater was related to geologic characteristics of the county. This information was used to identify other parts of Ohio that may also be vulnerable to contamination from arsenic.

As part of this study, information about arsenic in Ohio groundwater from the USGS, OEPA, ODH, and USEPA was compiled for a website: www.ArsenicInOhioGroundwater.info

> Mary Ann Thomas, mathomas@usgs.gov

 


Effectiveness of methods used to treat arsenic in 11 domestic wells in central and southwestern Ohio
Effectiveness of methods used to treat arsenic in 11 domestic wells in central and southwestern Ohio

In Ohio groundwater, arsenic occurs in a form that is especially difficult to remove by water-treatment methods, especially methods suitable for home use. A study was done to determine what forms of treatment are used by Ohio homeowners, and how effective they are in terms of arsenic removal. Three types of arsenic-removal systems were investigated, and the results varied widely (2–90 percent removal). One of the primary factors related to system effectiveness was the arsenic concentration and other chemical characteristics of the raw water. A second factor was related to maintenance and operation of the treatment equipment. Additional study may be warranted to determine if currently available arsenic-treatment methods are effective and (or) practical for residential use in areas with water-quality characteristics found in Ohio.

> Mary Ann Thomas, mathomas@usgs.gov

 


Groundwater Network in Ohio
Groundwater Network in Ohio (website)

State and local agencies in Ohio (and to a limited extent, the USGS) collect, research, interpret, and disseminate groundwater data to characterize the groundwater resources of the State. To address these needs, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) monitor groundwater levels for more than 140 wells throughout Ohio. Personnel from the USGS Ohio Water Science Center and ODNR compile and publish water levels on the Groundwater Watch and the National Water Information System (NWIS) (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis)

> Robert Darner, radarner@usgs.gov

 

 


White, Great, and Little Miami River (WHMI) NAWQA Groundwater Status and Trends
White, Great, and Little Miami River (WHMI) NAWQA Groundwater Status and Trends

The White, Great, and Little Miami River (WHMI) Basins in Indiana and Ohio comprise one of more than 50 study units that are part of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The long-term goals of the NAWQA program are to describe the water-quality status and trends in a large representative part of the Nation's surface-water and groundwater resources and to provide a sound, scientific understanding of the primary factors affecting the quality of these resources. The WHMI NAWQA groundwater study includes the collection of groundwater-quality samples and measurement of groundwater levels in three well networks in the Glacial Aquifer System.

> Mary Ann Thomas, mathomas@usgs.gov

 

 


Long-term monitoring of groundwater levels in the vicinity of South Russell Village, Geauga County, Ohio
Long-term monitoring of groundwater levels in the vicinity of South Russell Village, Geauga County, Ohio

Depth to groundwater is measured four times a year (November, February, May, and August) in six wells in South Russell Village. Five wells are measured manually. One well in the network is instrumented to record hourly water levels in the Pottsville Formation, which is a heavily used aquifer in the village. Data from the network is used to evaluate whether variations in groundwater levels are caused by annual variations in precipitation or whether residential and commercial development is influencing groundwater levels.

> Martha Jagucki, mjagucki@usgs.gov

 

 


Long-term water-level monitoring network, Geauga County, Ohio
Long-term water-level monitoring network, Geauga County, Ohio

Residents of Geauga County rely almost exclusively on groundwater as their source of drinking water. County planners are concerned that steady population growth, in combination with extensive groundwater use by county residents, will result in water being withdrawn faster that it is recharged, causing a decline in groundwater levels. This study is monitoring groundwater levels in 31 wells across the county that are completed in four widely used aquifers. Knowledge of the magnitude and locations of groundwater declines in the county are needed to assist in planning for continued growth and conservation of groundwater resources. This study, in cooperation with the Geauga County Commissioners, helps to quantify, forecast, and secure fresh water for the future.

> Martha Jagucki, mjagucki@usgs.gov

 


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