Groundwater Quality of Domestic Supply Wells in Pennsylvania

Science Center Objects

Most rural residents in Pennsylvania use groundwater from domestic supply wells for drinking, cleaning and other purposes. Some groundwater samples have been analyzed for private purposes, but those results generally are not readily available to the public. Many of the publicly available water-quality samples from rural areas were collected more than 30 years ago. Quality-assured groundwater datasets established using consistent field procedures are needed to characterize current water-quality conditions in bedrock and unconsolidated aquifers tapped by domestic-supply wells in Pennsylvania.

Map of baseline groundwater quality assessments in Pennsylvania


Data and Products
  • Data access via NWIS or Science Base
  • Interpretative analyses and peer-reviewed reports of scientific findings
  • Analysis of chemical characteristics
  • Sampling conducted through USGS standard procedures
  • Grant opportunities and USGS Cooperative Matching Funds
County Level Reports


Baseline Groundwater Quality in Pennsylvania

Several county groundwater baseline studies have already been completed and others are ongoing in Northeast and Northcentral Pennsylvania. The objective of each county study is to characterize the current chemical quality of groundwater from shallow freshwater aquifers used by private domestic-supply wells. All data collected helps private landowners, local communities, conservation groups, consultants and natural resource agencies to better understand current conditions and assess natural and anthropogenic influences on local aquifers.

The objective of these studies are accomplished by analyzing water samples from approximately 45-80 wells per county. Each well must meet prescribed construction criteria and is randomly selected where possible so that the findings are not biased toward wells with known water-quality issues and so all major rock types and land uses in each county are represented. Well selection, sampling, procedures, laboratory analyses, and reporting follow established USGS protocols.

Benefits and Products include the following:

  • Interpretative analyses and peer-reviewed reports of scientific findings
  • Analysis of a comprehensive suite of chemical characteristics
  • Sampling done with consistent USGS standard procedures
  • Data are available in perpetuity for public access through the National Water Information System (NWIS) or Science Base.
  • Potential funding support through grant opportunities and USGS Cooperative Matching Funds

County groundwater assessments:

Potter County (Dan Galeone, Charles Cravotta, Dennis Risser) - 2017
   Report        Data

Clinton County (John Clune, Charles Cravotta) - 2017
   Report        Data

Bradford County (John Clune, Charles Cravotta) - 2016
   Report        Data

Pike County (Lisa Senior, Charles Cravotta) - 2015
   Report       Data

Lycoming County (Eliza Gross, Charles Cravotta) - 2014
   Report         Data

Wayne County (Lisa Senior, Ron Sloto, Charles Cravotta) - 2014
   Report         Data

Sullivan County (Ron Sloto) - 2012
   Report         Data