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Groundwater quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin, New York, 2012

August 14, 2014

Water samples were collected from 20 production and domestic wells in the Upper Hudson River Basin (north of the Federal Dam at Troy, New York) in New York in August 2012 to characterize groundwater quality in the basin. The samples were collected and processed using standard U.S. Geological Survey procedures and were analyzed for 148 physiochemical properties and constituents, including dissolved gases, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), radionuclides, and indicator bacteria.

The Upper Hudson River Basin covers 4,600 square miles in upstate New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts; the study area encompasses the 4,000 square miles that lie within New York. The basin is underlain by crystalline and sedimentary bedrock, including gneiss, shale, and slate; some sandstone and carbonate rocks are present locally. The bedrock in some areas is overlain by surficial deposits of saturated sand and gravel. Eleven of the wells sampled in the Upper Hudson River Basin are completed in sand and gravel deposits, and nine are completed in bedrock. Groundwater in the Upper Hudson River Basin was typically neutral or slightly basic; the water typically was moderately hard. Bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, and sodium were the major ions with the greatest median concentrations; the dominant nutrient was nitrate. Methane was detected in 7 samples. Strontium, iron, barium, boron, and manganese were the trace elements with the highest median concentrations. Two pesticides, an herbicide degradate and an insecticide degredate, were detected in two samples at trace levels; seven VOCs, including chloroform, four solvents, and the gasoline additive methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) were detected in four samples. The greatest radon-222 activity, 2,900 picocuries per liter, was measured in a sample from a bedrock well; the median radon activity was higher in samples from bedrock wells than in samples from sand and gravel wells. Coliform bacteria were detected in one sample with a maximum of 2 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters.

Water quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin is generally good, but concentrations of some constituents equaled or exceeded current or proposed Federal or New York State drinking-water standards. The standards exceeded are color (1 sample), pH (3 samples), sodium (3 samples), chloride (1 sample), dissolved solids (1 sample), arsenic (1 sample), iron (2 samples), manganese (2 samples), uranium (1 sample), radon-222 (12 samples), and gross beta activities (3 samples). Total coliform bacteria were each detected in one sample. Concentrations of fluoride, sulfate, nitrate, nitrite, aluminum, antimony, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, thallium, zinc, and gross alpha activities did not exceed existing drinking-water standards in any of the samples collected. Methane concentration in one sample was greater than 28 milligrams per liter, with a concentration of 35.1 milligrams per liter.

Publication Year 2014
Title Groundwater quality in the Upper Hudson River Basin, New York, 2012
DOI 10.3133/ofr20141084
Authors Tia-Marie Scott, Elizabeth A. Nystrom
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2014-1084
Index ID ofr20141084
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center