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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Sept. 8, 2000

KGS Researcher to Use Dye Test at Marion Co. Spring

LAWRENCE--Water specialists from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, will conduct a dye-tracing test during September to better understand the source of water for Crystal Spring, north of the town of Florence in Marion County.

The test is part of a project to determine the spring's recharge area--the area that contributes to the water that eventually flows at the spring. Crystal Spring is the source of water supply for Florence.

Beginning the week of September 18, researchers will introduce small amounts of a non-toxic dye into two sinkholes along Martin Creek, about three miles north of Crystal Spring. They will then monitor the spring to see when the dye appears in the spring. The results will tell them if the sinkholes contribute water that eventually reaches the spring. It should also provide some idea of the speed and direction that the water moves underground.

"These dyes will be in very low concentrations by the time they reach the spring and will pose no threat to human health," said Survey geohydrologist Al Macfarlane, who is leading the project. "In addition, water from the spring is filtered and chlorinated, so all traces of the dye will be removed."

Crystal Spring is one of the most prolific springs in the state. During times of heavy precipitation, the spring produces 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water per minute. During the past few months, however, flow rates have diminished to about 1,000 gallons per minute.

Under current conditions, he expects the dye to travel from the sinkholes to Crystal Spring in 10 to 20 days.

"This test should tell us more about the flow patterns in the water that feeds Crystal Spring," said Macfarlane. "We should learn if the streamflow in Martin Creek is one of the sources of water to the spring."

The study to determine the recharge area for the spring is being funded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on behalf of the city of Florence.

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-2106
For more information, contact Al Macfarlane, 785-864-2068

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