USGS Tests Water Quality in the North Plains

While the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is extremely involved in protecting water quantity, poor quality water is no longer suitable for many uses and therefore, wasted. That is why the district has also made water quality a focus through its in-house water quality program. Although samples are taken throughout the district on an annual basis for water quality testing, local laboratories don’t provide the level of precision desired by the district’s management and board. Consequently, the district has contracted with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to get a comprehensive, highly accurate picture of the chemical and physical properties of the water in the aquifer. You can view the last report from 2014 on our website at
www.northplainsgcd.org/waterquality.

Mike Neiman mans the well pump while Craig Mobley works inside a mobile lab to prepare water samples.

Mike Neiman mans the well pump while Craig Mobley works inside a mobile lab to prepare water samples.

The USGS team completed half of the sampling in early March. The remaining wells will be sampled early next year and a full report will be delivered in 2021. All samples come from the Ogallala aquifer formation. USGS staff test for a multitude of parameters such as pH, conductivity, temperature, major ions, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, alkalinity, nutrients, metals, and inorganic compounds. Six of the 30 samples will be analyzed for pesticides. All samples collected will go to either the National Water Quality Laboratory in Denver, CO, or the Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory in Lawrence, KS.