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Hydrogeology and water quality of the Mississippi River alluvium near Muscatine, Iowa, June 1992 through June 1994

January 1, 1995

A study of the Mississippi River alluvium near Muscatine, Iowa, was conducted to evaluate ground-water flow and water quality using data collected from June 1992 through June 1994. The study area included approximately 80 square miles in parts of Muscatine and Louisa Counties in Iowa and Rock Island and Mercer Counties in Illinois.

A steady-state, ground-water flow model was constructed using February 1993 hydrologic conditions. Model results indicate that drawdown in the lower alluvium caused by the pumping centers in Iowa extends beneath the Muscatine Slough in the northwest part of the study area and beneath the Mississippi River in the central and northern parts of the area. The primary sources of ground water in the alluvium are recharge from precipitation, leakage from the Mississippi River, and infiltration of upland runoff. The bedrock is not a major contributor of ground water to the alluvium.

The areal distribution of selected water-quality properties and constituents in ground water results from several factors. Localized large chloride and nitrite-plus-nitrate nitrogen concentrations could be indicative of contamination from human activity. Specific conductance and calcium, magnesium, and sulfate concentrations are larger in ground water near the boundary between the river valley and upland area and could result from infiltration of upland runoff or lithologic differences in the alluvium. Large iron or manganese concentrations occur in the ground water near the Mississippi River and Muscatine Slough that result from microbial processes and the presence of dissolved organic carbon.

Temporal variations of concentrations for selected water-quality constituents in groundwater samples attest to the dynamic nature of the ground-water system as it responds to natural and human-induced changes in water quality. Leakage from the Mississippi River affects ground-water quality in the alluvium adjacent to the river. Temporal variations in water quality of the Mississippi River can be caused by seasonally, amount of discharge, or upstream human activities.

The quality of ground water induced from discrete zones of the alluvium by the pumping centers in Iowa has implications for the entire ground-water resource. The ground-water flow model calculated that 10 percent of the water that enters the zone of active pumping on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River originates from the zone west and north of Muscatine Slough, and that 5.2 percent originates from the zone on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River east of the center of the river channel.

Publication Year 1995
Title Hydrogeology and water quality of the Mississippi River alluvium near Muscatine, Iowa, June 1992 through June 1994
DOI 10.3133/wri954049
Authors K.J. Lucey, R.L. Kuzniar, J.P. Caldwell
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 95-4049
Index ID wri954049
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Iowa Water Science Center