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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.
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.
Potter County (Dan Galeone, Charles Cravotta, Dennis Risser) - 2017
Clinton County (John Clune, Charles Cravotta) - 2017
Bradford County (John Clune, Charles Cravotta) - 2016
Pike County (Lisa Senior, Charles Cravotta) - 2015
Lycoming County (Eliza Gross, Charles Cravotta) - 2014
Wayne County (Lisa Senior, Ron Sloto, Charles Cravotta) - 2014
Sullivan County (Ron Sloto) - 2012
Related USGS science
Datasets on of baseline water quality in Pennsylvania counties
Data in the USGS NWIS national database can be found by searching on County here.
Clune, J.W., and Cravotta III, C.A., 2020, Compilation of data not available in the National Water Information System for domestic wells sampled by the U.S. Geological Survey in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, May-September 2017: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9Q86Z7D.
Reports on baseline water quality in Pennsylvania counties
Below are news stories associated with this project.
A report on the groundwater quality of Potter County is the latest of seven publications characterizing water quality of aquifers underlying central...
Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained...
Well-water tested in Wayne and Pike counties contains low-to-moderate concentrations of naturally occurring methane, according to new studies by the U...