A new U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet and a map showing the water-surface elevation of groundwater in the High Plains aquifer system in Laramie County can help local well owners in southeastern Wyoming better understand the quality and quantity of their well water.
The USGS fact sheet, written in cooperation with the Laramie County Conservation District, Platte County Resource District, Southeast Wyoming Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, summarizes concentration ranges of selected chemicals and physical properties in the drinking-water aquifers in southeastern Wyoming, along with selected drinking-water-quality standards.
"In many parts of the American west, options for land use are dictated by the quality and quantity of the local groundwater," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "The USGS is pleased to work with our local partners to make useful products available to landowners so that they can make wise decisions concerning this valuable resource."
The number of homeowners in southeastern Wyoming interested in testing their well-water quality has dramatically increased with the onset of oil and natural gas drilling associated with the Niobrara Formation.
"Regardless of the reason well owners are testing their water, it is good for them to know what they are drinking, and the new fact sheet will help landowners interpret the results about their well water that they receive from a lab," said Liberty Blain, Water Specialist with the Laramie County Conservation District and co-author of the fact sheet.
Continued interest in groundwater levels in the High Plains aquifer system, the most used source of groundwater in the state, prompted the USGS and the Wyoming State Engineer's Office to conduct a study and develop a map that involved visiting nearly 450 wells throughout Laramie County.
"From this map, it is possible to estimate the direction groundwater is flowing, how far it is from the land surface to the groundwater, and even how thick the aquifer is in different areas," stated USGS hydrologist Tim Bartos.
Copies of "Groundwater Quality of Southeastern Wyoming” are available free of charge by calling 1–888–ASK–USGS (1–888–275–8747), online, or by contacting the Laramie County Conservation District or Platte County Resource District. Copies of the Scientific Investigations Map, “Generalized potentiometric surface, estimated depth to water, and estimated saturated thickness of the High Plains aquifer system, March–June 2009, Laramie County, Wyoming” are also available free of charge by calling 1–888–ASK–USGS (1–888–275–8747) or online.