Jackson Hole Airport Groundwater Study

Science Center Objects

In 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Jackson Hole Airport Board and Teton Conservation District, began a study designed to characterize the alluvial aquifer at the Jackson Hole Airport. The purpose of this study was to determine the direction of groundwater flow, calculate hydraulic gradients, and characterize groundwater quality both upgradient and downgradient of airport activities and facilities that could affect shallow groundwater quality.


During the baseline study conducted during water years 2008 and 2009 low oxygen (reduced-oxygen) conditions were found at 2 of the 7 wells sampled. These reduced-oxygen conditions in the groundwater can indicate an upgradient source of carbon, such as the aircraft deicing/anti-icing fluids. Studies of groundwater quality near other airports in the United States and Norway have found components of aircraft deicing/anti-icing fluids were associated with reduced dissolved-oxygen conditions. 

Additional sampling was conducted during water years 2011 and 2012. Triazoles - anthropogenic compounds often used as an additive in deicing and anti-icing fluids as a corrosion inhibitor -  were detected at low concentrations in groundwater at 7 of the 10 wells sampled.

Groundwater-quality data and groundwater-level data continue to be collected at the Jackson Hole Airport and are available through the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System.