The chemical character of the ground waters in Chase County is shown by the 34 analyses of water given in parts per million in Table 7. Factors for converting parts per million of mineral constituents to equivalents per million are given in Table 8. These water samples were collected from wells distributed as evenly as practicable within the county and among the principal water-bearing formations. Table 7 includes analyses of the two public water supplies. The samples of water were analyzed by Howard A. Stoltenberg, Chemist, in the Water and Sewage Laboratory of the Kansas State Board of Health.
Table 7--Analyses of water from typical wells and springs in Chase County. Analyzed by H. A. Stoltenberg. Dissolved constituents given in parts per million.a
|Well no.||Location||Depth, feet||Geologic source||Date of collection||Temp., °F||Dissolved solids||Silica (SiO2)||Iron (Fe)||Calcium (Ca)||Magnesium (Mg)||Sodium & potassium (Na + K)||Bicarbonate (HCO3)||Sulfate (SO4)||Chloride (Cl)||Fluoride (F)||Nitrate (NO3)||Hardness as CaCO3|
|T. 18 S., R. 6 E.|
|18-6-12da||NE SE sec. 12||32.6||Easly Creek sh and Bader ls||4-16-48||....||414||9.2||1.8||112||19||9.4||333||32||27||0.3||41||358||273||85|
|T. 18 S., R. 7 E.|
|18-7-33aa||NE NE sec. 33||35||Cottonwood ls||6-24-48||....||501||8.6||0.05||130||24||19||438||61||11||0.1||31||423||359||64|
|T. 18 S., R. 8 E.|
|18-8-1ca||NE SW sec. 1||42.9||Speiser sh, Funston ls||4-17-48||58||1,147||12.0||0.38||254||58||17||403||102||108||0.1||398||872||330||542|
|T. 18 S., R. 9 E.|
|18-9-25cc||SW SW sec. 25||17.4||Burr ls & Sallyards ls||4-17-48||....||1,306||7.2||0.33||288||41||37||267||190||94||0.3||518||887||219||668|
|18-9-32da||NE SE sec. 32||45.6||Bader ls||6-25-48||....||610||7.0||1.9||110||52||28||411||95||32||0.4||84||488||337||151|
|T. 19 S., R. 6 E.|
|19-6-29cc||SW SW sec. 29||99.1||Florence ls||6-24-48||58||948||8.8||3.8||95||70||143||522||93||139||0.3||142||524||428||96|
|T. 19 S., R. 7 E.|
|19-7-22ac||SW NE sec. 22||50.3||Foraker ls||4-16-48||....||1,220||13.0||1.4||68||51||324||371||64||490||0.7||26||379||304||75|
|T. 19 S., R. 8 E.|
|19-8-5ba||NE NW sec. 5||37.9||Alluvium||6-24-48||....||310||7.6||0.44||98||9.4||7.4||331||15||5.5||0.2||4.4||283||272||11|
|19-8-13cb||NW SW sec. 13||91.4||Grenola ls||4-17-48||....||522||10.0||0.16||130||32||8.7||388||136||5.5||0.3||8||456||318||138|
|19-8-18(1)||Lot 10 of sec. 18||43||Cottonwood ls||6-24-48||59||470||7.2||0.08||113||33||16||454||41||12||0.1||24||418||372||46|
|City of Cottonwood Falls, KS||Alluvium||7-25-47||....||539||12.0||0.33||122||32||29||482||70||17||0.1||7.1||436||395||41|
|19-8-29aa||City of Strong, KS||Alluvium||6-15-48||....||484||7.0||0.03||44||28||59||52||130||105||0.2||4.9||225||67||158|
|19-8-29bc2||SW NW sec. 29||80||Grenola ls||4-14-48||....||1,869||14.0||1.9||217||108||220||315||1,121||17||1.1||16||986||258||728|
|T. 19 S., R. 9 E.|
|19-9-3cc||SW SW sec. 3||37||Long Creek ls||4-17-48||....||521||11.0||1.4||99||27||49||349||22||70||0.3||71||358||286||72|
|19-9-6ad||SE NE sec. 6||65.0||Beattie ls||4-17-48||....||913||13.0||1.6||126||77||73||432||369||28||0.3||14||631||354||277|
|19-9-15bb||NW NW sec. 15||17.2||Terrace alluvium||6-25-48||58||520||10.0||0.60||94||22||70||383||61||67||0.2||7.1||325||314||11|
|T. 20 S., R. 7 E.|
|20-7-27da||NE SE sec. 27||112||Wreford ls||4-14-48||58||357||9.8||0.02||74||36||13||405||14||8.5||0.1||26||332||332||0|
|T. 20 S., R. 8 E.|
|20-8-2bd||SE NW sec. 2||21.1||Alluvium||4-16-48||....||631||9.0||1.3||122||26||64||409||147||20||0.2||42||412||336||76|
|20-8-16aa2||NE NE sec. 16||32.4||Beattie ls||4-16-48||....||618||9.2||0.56||118||45||24||349||115||28||0.4||106||480||286||194|
|20-8-26da||NE SE sec. 26||27.9||Grenola ls||6-25-48||56||603||7.8||0.30||107||39||48||368||82||54||0.4||84||428||302||126|
|20-8-31(1)||Lot 17 of sec. 31||49.6||Bader ls||4-14-48||....||576||11.0||0.16||129||31||29||405||29||51||0.1||97||450||332||118|
|T. 21 S., R. 5 E.|
|21-5-12ca||NE SW sec. 12||51.9||Florence ls||4-14-48||59||818||10.0||3.1||168||13||72||329||56||49||0.4||288||472||270||202|
|T. 21 S., R. 7 E.|
|21-7-21bb||NW NW sec. 21||101.7||Towanda & Fort Riley ls||4-16-48||57||395||12.0||1.8||85||31||19||390||24||14||0.4||18||340||320||20|
|T. 21 S., R. 8 E.|
|21-8-15ba||NE NW sec. 15||64||Cottonwood ls||6-24-48||....||435||8.2||0.30||70||47||21||346||99||16||0.4||3||368||284||84|
|T. 22 S., R. 6 E.|
|22-6-18dc||SW SE sec. 18||56.6||Winfield ls||4-14-48||57||375||13.0||0.18||64||33||28||332||47||18||0.5||8.8||295||272||23|
|22-6-26cc||SW SW sec. 26||29(?)||Towanda & Fort Riley ls||4-16-48||....||577||15.0||2||82||44||59||336||165||44||2||0.88||386||276||110|
|T. 22 S., R. 7 E.|
|22-7-8cb||NW SW sec. 8||41.8||Fort Riley ls||4-16-48||....||412||10.0||0.88||107||21||15||384||35||10||0.2||25||354||315||39|
|22-7-25bc||SW NW sec. 25||spring||Florence ls||4-16-48||55||327||9.6||0.03||91||16||11||346||13||10||0.2||6.2||293||284||9|
|22-7-35cb||NW SW sec. 35||94.1||Barneston ls||4-16-48||56||339||10.0||0.80||71||28||21||376||8.2||13||0.5||2||292||292||0|
|T. 22 S., R. 8 E.|
|22-8-7aa||NE NE sec. 7||58.9||Bader ls||6-24-48||....||2,116||14.0||0.30||210||118||345||184||748||585||0.8||4.1||1,009||151||858|
|22-8-9cd||SE SW sec. 9||61.0||Cottonwood ls||4-16-48||55||4,157||15.0||0.66||348||198||778||128||1,650||1,090||1.3||14||1,682||105||1,577|
|22-8-18(1)||Lot 10 of sec. 18||spring||Wreford ls||4-16-48||54||262||6.4||0.13||72||13||9.4||268||18||9||0.2||2.2||233||220||13|
|22-8-20ca||NE SW sec. 20||25.3||Crouse ls||4-16-48||....||1,075||14.0||0.47||178||37||113||355||152||109||0.1||297||596||291||305|
|22-8-22dc||SW SE sec. 22||44.6||Crouse & Middleburg ls||6-24-48||58||413||4.8||0.83||87||19||31||304||26||15||0.2||80||295||250||45|
|a. One part per million is equivalent to one pound of substance per million pounds of water or 8.33 pounds per million gallons of water.
b. Water sample from municipal distribution system. Wells in secs. 19 and 20, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.
Table 8--Factors for converting parts per million of mineral constituents to equivalents per million.
Total Dissolved Solids
When water is evaporated, the residue consists mainly of the dissolved mineral constituents and usually a little water of crystallization. Waters containing less than 500 parts per million of dissolved solids generally are satisfactory for domestic use, except for difficulties resulting from their hardness or occasional excessive content of iron. Waters containing more than 1,000 parts per million may include enough of certain constituents to produce a noticeable taste or to make the water unsuitable in some other respect. The amount of dissolved solids in the 34 samples of ground water collected in Chase County is indicated in Table 9.
Table 9--Dissolved solids in water samples from wells and springs in Chase County.
parts per million
|Number of samples|
|300 or less||1|
Hardness of water is the property that generally receives the most attention and in washing is recognized by the increased quantity of soap required to produce lather. Calcium and magnesium are the constituents that cause practically all the hardness of water and are the active agents in the formation of the greater part of the scale formed in steam boilers and in other vessels in which water is heated or evaporated.
In addition to the total hardness, the table of analyses shows the carbonate hardness and the noncarbonate hardness. The carbonate hardness is due to the presence of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate and can be removed almost entirely by boiling. This type of hardness is sometimes called temporary hardness. The noncarbonate hardness is due to the presence of sulfates or chlorides of calcium and magnesium; it cannot be removed by boiling and is sometimes called permanent hardness. So far as use with soaps is concerned, there is no difference between the carbonate and noncarbonate hardness. Noncarbonate hardness generally forms harder scale in steam boilers.
Water having a hardness of less than 50 parts per million generally is rated as soft, and its treatment for the removal of hardness under ordinary circumstances is not necessary. Hardness between 50 and 150 parts per million does not seriously interfere with the use of water for most purposes; however, it does appreciably increase the consumption of soap. The use of water in the upper part of this range of hardness will result in the formation of a considerable amount of scale in steam boilers. Hardness above 150 parts per million can be noticed by anyone, and if the hardness is 200 or 300 parts per million or more it is common practice to soften the water for household use or to install cisterns to collect soft rain water. Where municipal water supplies are softened, the hardness generally is reduced to 60 or 80 parts per million. The additional improvement from further softening of a whole public supply generally is not deemed worth the increase in cost.
The hardness of 34 water samples of ground water collected in Chase County is indicated in Table 10.
Table 10--Hardness of water samples from wells and springs in Chase County.
parts per million
|Number of samples|
|200 or less||0|
|More than 1,000||2|
Next to hardness, iron is the constituent of natural waters that in general receives the most attention. The quantity of iron in ground waters may differ greatly from place to place, even in waters from the same formation. If a water contains much more than 0.1 part per million of iron, the excess may precipitate as a reddish sediment. Iron, where present in sufficient quantity to give a disagreeable taste and to stain cooking utensils, may be removed from most waters by simple aeration and filtration, but a few waters must be treated by the addition of lime or by passing the water through resinous substances having a high affinity for iron.
Table 11 shows the iron content of the water samples analyzed.
Table 11--Iron content of water samples from wells and springs in Chase County.
parts per million
|Number of samples|
|Less than 0.1||5|
Although the quantities of fluoride are generally much less than the quantities of other constituents of natural water, it is desirable to know the amount of fluoride present in water that is likely to be used by children. Fluoride in water has been shown to be associated with the dental defect known as mottled enamel, which may appear on the teeth of children who, during the period of formation of the permanent teeth, drink water containing fluoride. It has been stated that waters containing 1.5 parts per million or more of fluoride are likely to produce mottled enamel (Dean, 1936). If water contains as much as 4 parts per million of fluoride, 90 percent of the children drinking the water are likely to have mottled enamel, and 35 percent or more of the cases will be classified as moderate or worse.
Recent investigations indicate that small quantities of fluoride in water are beneficial for the development of teeth, and that the incidence of tooth decay is less when such quantities of fluoride are present in the water used for drinking than when there is none. All but three of the 34 samples analyzed contained from 0.1 to 1.0 part per million fluoride. Three samples contained 1.1 to 2.0 parts per million.
The significance of nitrate in drinking water has received considerable attention in recent years since the discovery that high concentrations of nitrate in water used in preparing baby formulas may cause cyanosis of infants ("blue babies").
A concentration of 90 parts per million of nitrate as NO3 in drinking water is considered by the Kansas State Board of Health as being dangerous to infants, and some authorities recommend that water containing more than 45 parts per million should not be used for preparation of formulas. Cyanosis is not produced in adults or older children by these concentrations of nitrate.
Nitrate found in well waters in Chase County may be derived from two sources: (1) nitrate minerals naturally occurring in the rocks from which a well derives water or (2) organic action. The second of these two possibilities is the more probable, inasmuch as no nitrate minerals are known in any of the rocks at or near the surface in Chase County. Bacterial decomposition of organic material, either plant or animal, in the topsoil produces nitrate. Especially during the early spring and late summer, when plants are relatively dormant, large concentrations of nitrate can be built up in the soil. Barnyards also are sources of organic material high in nitrate. Of the 32 water samples (excluding municipal supplies) from wells in Chase County that were analyzed, 19 percent of the drilled wells and 33 percent of the dug wells contained more than 90 parts per million of nitrate. The maximum amount determined was 518 parts per million, from a dug well (18-9-25cc), and the minimum determined was 0.88 part per million from a drilled well (22-6-26cc).
The analyses of water shown in Table 7 show only the amounts of dissolved mineral matter and do not indicate the sanitary quality of the water. However, an abnormal amount of certain mineral matter, such as nitrate, may indicate pollution of the water.
Dug wells and shallow springs are more likely to become contaminated than properly constructed drilled wells, generally because they are not effectively protected from surface waters at the well or spring opening. Drilled wells are generally protected by the casing, although many are not properly sealed at the top. A well should not be located near possible sources of pollution such as barnyards, privies, and cesspools.
Ground-water Regions in Chase County
Ground-water resources in various parts of Chase County may best be discussed by dividing the county into several ground-water regions and areas in which ground water occurs under similar conditions. These are discussed below. The symbol used for each on Plate 3 is given in parentheses after the name.
Bluestem Upland Region (B)
The Bluestem Upland region is characterized by undulating to gently rolling topography with a few rounded to flat-topped buttes. This region is developed on rocks of the Chase group, principally those above the escarpment-making Florence limestone, but it includes some land developed on adjacent uplands formed by the Wreford limestone and Matfield shale. Much of this region is bluestem grassland. Most of the wells in the region are drilled wells 40 to 150 feet deep, except for a few shallow dug wells along stream valleys.
The chief aquifers in the region, the Barneston and Wreford limestones, yield freshwater except where deeply buried. The Towanda and Cresswell limestones are good aquifers locally. Occasionally a well will derive water from the Kinney limestone or a permeable zone in one of the shales.
Cedar Creek Area (Bc)
This area, drained principally by Cedar Creek and its tributaries, comprises the largest division of the Bluestem Upland region in Chase County. The area is structurally a large basin, the center of which is near Wonsevu, in sec. 9, T. 22 S., R. 6 E. East of Wonsevu long dip slopes, 5 to 7 miles in width, are developed on the Doyle shale and Barneston limestone. North, south, and west of Wonsevu the dip slopes developed on the alternating limestone and shale formations have smaller areal extent.
Ground water is obtained by wells from the rocks of the Chase group at depths ranging from less than 5 feet to as much as 150 feet. Both confined and unconfined water are obtained. Springs are abundant, and small marsh spots occur in several places along streams where the water table intersects the land surface. The quality of the ground water is generally good (Table 7). Yields of 5 to 10 gallons per minute are common, but some wells yield 100 gallons or more per minute. Small supplies of water are obtained from thin alluvial deposits along the principal creeks.
South Elmdale Area (Bs)
The South Elmdale area is similar in many respects to the Cedar Creek area. Ground water is obtained from limestone aquifers of the Chase group, chiefly the Barneston and Wreford limestones. Ground water in the Barneston limestone occurs almost entirely as unconfined water in this area, but water in the Kinney and Wreford limestones occurs primarily as confined artesian water that has considerable head in parts of the area. There are several flowing artesian wells in the area.
The water is of good quality (Table 7). Yields of wells are small to moderate, ranging from less than 1 gallon per minute to as much as 75 gallons per minute. Wells obtain water at depths of a few feet to as much as 150 feet. Springs and seeps are common along the creeks in the eastern part of this area.
This area constitutes the southeast flank of the Elmdale anticline, a "high" area along the buried Nemaha anticline of the subsurface. The dip of the rock strata is to the south and east.
Middle Creek Area (Bm)
An upland developed on rocks of the Chase group and drained in part by Middle Creek constitutes a third ground-water area of the Bluestem Upland region.
Well water is obtained from rocks of the Chase group at depths ranging from a few feet to approximately 150 feet. The water is of good quality for stock and domestic use. Springs and seeps are numerous where the creeks have cut through the water-bearing limestone beds. Success in obtaining a good well is dependent on finding local structural lows and permeable zones in the water-bearing beds, especially around the marginal areas adjacent to the Elmdale area.
Well yields range from less than 1 gallon per minute to as much as 50 gallons per minute. The quality of water is generally good (Table 7).
Fox Creek Area (Bf)
The Fox Creek area along the north boundary of the county, drained in part by Fox Creek, is the border of a large upland developed on rocks of the Chase group in Morris County. Most of this area in Chase County is fairly well dissected, only small tracts remaining where rocks of the Barneston limestone are present and undissected.
For the most part wells are rather sparse in this area. Springs, however, are abundant along the creeks and together with numerous ponds supply most of the stock water in the Fox Creek area. Nearly all the area is bluestem pasture land. The yields of wells and the character of the ground water are similar to those in the Middle Creek area (Bm).
Thurman Area (Bt)
The Thurman area, in the southeast corner of the county, is a small upland between tributaries of the Verdigris River and tributaries of the Cottonwood River. Drainage is dominantly westward to the South Fork of the Cottonwood River. The general dip of the rocks in the area is to the west also.
Wells obtain water from the Barneston, Kinney, and Wreford limestones and from thin patchy deposits of alluvium along some of the creeks. Most of the wells are 50 feet or less in depth and have only small yields. The quality of the water is similar to that in the other areas of the Bluestem Upland region.
Dissected Bluestem Region (D)
The major part of Chase County is included in the ground-water region designated the Dissected Bluestem region. This region is developed almost entirely on rocks belonging to the Council Grove group, but it includes small hilly dissected areas developed on rocks included in the lower part of the Chase group. Rocks of the Admire group in Chase County and adjacent areas to the east are distinctly of lesser value as reservoirs of ground water, but inasmuch as these rocks occur at the surface in only three small areas in Chase County, they are included in this region for purposes of discussion in this report.
The chief aquifers are the Beattie, Grenola, Red Eagle, and Long Creek limestones. The Eiss limestone yields small supplies of water to wells locally. Other limestones of the Council Grove group are only occasionally the principal aquifer supplying a well.
A relatively minor part of the water obtained from the wells is derived from permeable zones in the shale beds separating the limestones.
The Admire group in Chase County consists chiefly of shale and sandy shale and minor amounts of sandstone and limestone. Good water supplies are not obtainable from these rocks in the county.
Many of the wells in this region are dug wells constructed in the surficial weathered limestones and shales. These wells are relatively shallow, generally ranging from 12 to 40 feet in depth. Many of them have been successful and adequate for the purpose they serve, mainly because of the large reservoir capacity of dug wells, although the water-bearing beds they tap are of low yield. However many of the shallow dug wells are inadequate in spite of their storage capacity. The static level in these wells fluctuates considerably.
Drilled wells in the region are generally deeper than the dug wells, commonly 30 to 60 feet deep and a few 100 feet or more. These wells frequently obtain confined water from joints, bedding planes, solution channels, or cavernous zones in the limestones; the productivity of the well is primarily dependent on the number and size of these openings penetrated in the zone of saturation. Periods of deficient rainfall affect the deeper wells and water-bearing zones less than they do the shallow wells.
The ground water is much more variable in chemical quality in this region than in the Bluestem Upland region (Table 7).
Rock Creek Area (Dr)
Abundant springs characterize a narrow strip of land drained by Rock Creek and other eastward-flowing tributaries along the west side of South Fork Cottonwood River. The area is used principally for grazing, and normally, spring-fed creeks supply most of the necessary stock water. Stock and domestic wells are relatively few. The wells generally have small yields, and the water varies considerably in chemical character. Some wells as shallow as 30 feet yield water too highly mineralized for domestic or stock use, whereas some other wells as deep as 80 or 100 feet obtain water of good quality.
North of Rock Creek the strata have a considerable easterly dip in places and in the area west of Spring Creek some of the water-bearing beds contain water under considerable head. Strata ranging from the Neva limestone to the Wreford limestone are exposed in the area centered around sec. 36, T. 19 S., R. 7 E. and dip eastward 100 to 160 feet in a distance of 3 or 4 miles. No flowing wells were observed in this area, however.
Many ponds have been constructed to supplement springs and wells as sources of stock water supply.
Elmdale Area (De)
A considerable area south, west, north, and northeast of Elmdale is included in the Elmdale area. The area lies on or adjacent to the crest of the buried Nemaha ridge. Except along the valleys, the land is almost entirely devoted to native grassland and wells are not abundant. Stockwater supplies are obtained in large part from creeks and springs, supplemented by stock ponds. With few exceptions the best wells are adjacent to the main drainage lines in the lower parts of the valleys. Yields of wells range from less than 500 gallons a day to as much as 100 gallons per minute, for example well 18-7-33aa. Quality of water is variable. Wells range in depth from a few feet to more than 100 feet.
Buckeye-Peyton Creek Area (Db)
The Buckeye-Peyton Creek area northeast of Strong City and north of Saffordville is essentially like the Elmdale section except for somewhat less relief and more areas of low cultivated slopes. In most of this area the best water-bearing beds of the Council Grove group, the Beattie, Grenola, Red Eagle, and Long Creek limestones, are near the surface and contain freshwater. Although a considerable number of shallow wells, for the most part less than 50 feet deep, are often inadequate as stock and domestic wells, there are many dependable wells of small to moderate yields in the area. Freshwater may be obtained at depths ranging from a few feet to approximately 150 feet. The quality of the water is variable but generally good (Table 7).
Verdigris-Bloody Creek Area (Dv)
A large area in the southeastern part of Chase County is drained in part by Verdigris River and in part by Bloody Creek. The dip of the rock strata is to the west and northwest; otherwise this area is essentially like the Elmdale area. Most wells are along the valleys of the tributary creeks and streams and are 30 to 50 feet deep, a few being as deep as 100 feet. Yields of wells are generally small and in many instances are inadequate for domestic or stock needs. This is especially true of the area southeast of Matfield Green where water-bearing rocks above the Cottonwood limestone furnish inadequate supplies of water to wells. In this area the Cottonwood limestone contains abundant water, but the water is too highly mineralized to be usable for stock or domestic supplies (Table 7, well 21-8-lSba).
Quality of water varies from good to poor in this area (Table 7).
Alluvial Floodplain Region (A)
The alluvial floodplain deposits of Cottonwood River and its principal tributaries contain large quantities of hard but otherwise good water. The thickness of the alluvium ranges from a few feet to a maximum of 55 or 60 feet in the Cottonwood River valley and is as much as 25 to 40 feet thick in the principal tributaries (Fig. 3).
Wells properly constructed in the areas of maximum thickness of alluvium are capable of yielding 75 to 200 gallons of water per minute without excessive drawdown. Correspondingly smaller supplies are available from the alluvial deposits of the smaller tributaries. The municipal supplies of Strong City and Cottonwood Falls are obtained from wells in alluvium of the Cottonwood River valley (Pl. 3).
Alluvial Terrace Region (T)
Alluvial terrace deposits occur along the valleys of the principal streams as deposits of unconsolidated sediments similar in character to but higher in altitude than the alluvial floodplain deposits. Because they are above stream level, only a small part of the terrace deposits shown on Plate 3 are sufficiently thick and undissected to contain a permanent zone of saturation. The parts of the terraces that do contain a permanent zone of saturation yield small to moderate quantities of good water to wells (Table 7).
Because of the position of terraces above the floodplains of the principal streams, many of the wells penetrate unsaturated terrace material and are dug or drilled into the underlying Permian bedrock in order to obtain water from permeable saturated zones in the limestone or shale beds. Generally these wells are successful; possibly the terrace deposits, though not containing water themselves, aid in the recharge of the bedrock aquifers by absorbing water and feeding it into openings in the bedrock.
Kansas Geological Survey, Chase County Geohydrology
Placed on web March 2001; originally published Aug. 1951.
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