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Hydrogeology and water quality in the Snake River alluvial aquifer at Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson, Wyoming, September 2008–June 2009

October 2, 2010

The hydrogeology and water quality of the Snake River alluvial aquifer, at the Jackson Hole Airport in northwest Wyoming, was studied by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Jackson Hole Airport Board and the Teton Conservation District during September 2008-June 2009. Hydrogeologic conditions were characterized using data collected from 14 Jackson Hole Airport wells. Groundwater levels are summarized in this report and the direction of groundwater flow, hydraulic gradients, and estimated groundwater velocity rates in the Snake River alluvial aquifer underlying the study area are presented. Analytical results of chemical, dissolved gas, and stable isotopes are presented and summarized.

Seasonally, the water table at Jackson Hole Airport was lowest in early spring and reached its peak in July, with an increase of 12 to 14 feet between April and July 2009. Groundwater flow was predominantly horizontal but had the hydraulic potential for downward flow. The direction of groundwater flow was from the northeast to the west-southwest. Horizontal groundwater velocities within the Snake River alluvial aquifer at the airport were estimated to be about 26 to 66 feet per day. This indicates that the traveltime from the farthest upgradient well to the farthest downgradient well was approximately 53 to 138 days. This estimate only describes the movement of groundwater because some solutes may move at a rate much slower than groundwater flow through the aquifer.

The quality of the water in the alluvial aquifer generally was considered good. The alluvial aquifer was a fresh, hard to very hard, calcium carbonate type water. No constituents were detected at concentrations exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Levels, and no anthropogenic compounds were detected at concentrations greater than laboratory reporting levels. The quality of groundwater in the alluvial aquifer generally was suitable for domestic and other uses; however, dissolved iron and manganese were detected at concentrations exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secondary Maximum Contaminant Levels for drinking water in two monitoring wells. These secondary standards are esthetic guidelines only and are nonenforceable. Iron and manganese are likely both natural components of the geologic materials in the area and may have become mobilized in the aquifer due to reduction/oxidation (redox) processes. Additionally, measurements of dissolved-oxygen concentrations and analyses of major ions and nutrients indicate reducing conditions exist at two of the seven wells sampled. Reducing conditions in an otherwise oxic aquifer system are indicative of an upgradient or in-situ source of organic carbon. The nature of the source of organic carbon at the airport could not be determined.

View report for unabridged abstract.

Publication Year 2010
Title Hydrogeology and water quality in the Snake River alluvial aquifer at Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson, Wyoming, September 2008–June 2009
DOI 10.3133/sir20105172
Authors Peter R. Wright
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2010-5172
Index ID sir20105172
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wyoming Water Science Center