National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project

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Featured Studies
Special studies on source-water and drinking-water quality
Surface-water intakes
General Information

Regional Assessment of Groundwater Quality in the Glacial Aquifer System

Map of the glacial aquifer system.The glacial aquifer system includes all unconsolidated aquifers above bedrock north of the line of continental glaciation throughout the country. The glacial aquifer system is the largest aquifer in areal extent used for drinking water and public supply in the United States.

Approximately 41 million people rely on the glacial aquifer system for public supply and domestic use. Total withdrawals from the glacial aquifer system were 3,560 million gallons per day in 2000, which constitutes almost 5 percent of total withdrawals from all aquifers in the United States (USGS Circular-1279, Maupin and Barber, 2005).

Topics selected for the assessment of water quality:

  • Arsenic in groundwater—where levels may be high and why (SIR 2007-5036)
  • Uranium and radon in groundwater—how geology affects concentrations (SIR 2007-5037)
  • Nitrate in domestic wells—moving from monitoring to prediction (SIR 2010-5100)
  • Chloride in groundwater and surface water (SIR 2009-5086)
  • Trace elements in groundwater—what is the natural distribution? (SIR 2009-5006)
  • Water chemistry variations—environmental factors that influence water-quality (SIR 2008-5015)

Featured Publications
(View complete list)

Relations that affect the probability and prediction of nitrate concentration in private wells in the glacial aquifer system (SIR 2010-5100)

General Information

Informational handout about NAWQA's Glacial aquifer system assessment (PDF format, 1Mb)

Detailed information on the hydrogeology of the glacial aquifer system can be accessed through the USGS Ground Water Atlas of the U.S.

For more information, contact: Kelly Warner, Hydrologist

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