Chemical Quality of WaterChemical analyses of water from selected wells in Jefferson County (table 2) indicate that most of the water is of the calcium bicarbonate type. The concentration of dissolved solids in water samples from wells provides a general means of evaluating the quality of water in various aquifers. The concentration of dissolved solids ranges from 125 to 1,190 mg/l (milligrams per liter), with most values ranging from 300 to 600 mg/l. Water is considered to be of good quality for public supply if the dissolved-solids concentration is less than 500 mg/l, and of acceptable quality if the concentration is less than 1,000 mg/l. (The limits of the various constituents cited are those recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service, 1962.) Sulfate concentrations were generally low for most of the samples analyzed; however, two of the samples contained concentrations of sulfate in excess of the 250 mg/l limit recommended for public water supplies. The water generally is very hard, but it can be softened if found objectionably so.
About a third of the water samples analyzed contained concentrations of nitrate (NO3) in excess of the 45 mg/l limit recommended for public water supply. Ingestion by infants (less than 6 months old) of water containing nitrate in concentrations in excess of 45 mg/b may cause infantile methemoglobinemia (also called cyanosis or blue-baby disease). It may also affect young stock animals adversely. Boiling or softening of water does not remove or decrease the nitrate content. A brief investigation of a number of wells that yield water having a high nitrate content indicated that surface pollution was the probable source of the nitrate. Legumes, plant debris, fertilizers, animal wastes, and sewage probably are the sources of nitrate in most surface and ground waters. Protection of wells against the entrance of surface water may not be sufficient to prevent nitrate pollution. Nitrate can be leached from surface sources and can be carried to the water table where the nitrate will remain in solution.
Iron and manganese, when present in concentrations of more than 0.3 mg/l, may cause turbidity in the water and staining of plumbing fixtures and laundered fabrics. In Jefferson County the majority of samples contained iron concentrations of less than 1.0 mg/l.
Kansas Geological Survey, Jefferson County Geohydrology|
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Web version July 2002. Original publication date Dec. 1972.