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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2005-15

The Southeast Kansas Ozark Aquifer Water Supply Program; phase 1, project results

P. A. Macfarlane, J.M. Healey, and B.B. Wilson

KGS Open File Report 2005-15

Executive Summary

Historically, the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system has been the single most important source of water in the Tri-State region of southeast Kansas, southwest Missouri, and northeastern Oklahoma. Recent concerns have been raised that the available supply from this source may become inadequate, rendered unusable, or require additional water treatment in the near future because of: (1) recent and projected population growth that will create increased demand for water by public supplies and some industries; (2) potential upward vertical or eastward migration of saline water into public supply wells due to pumping, if pumping rates or wellfield size are increased to keep up with demand; and (3) possible contamination of ground-water supplies by downward moving leachate derived from mine tailings piles and the mine water contained in the abandoned open shafts.

In response to these concerns the Kansas Water Office contracted with the Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) to evaluate and redesign the existing ground-water-level monitoring network in southeast Kansas. To meet the project goal, spring and fall 2004 surveys were conducted to measure the depth to water in municipal, rural water district, and industrial wells tapping sources in the Ozark aquifer portion of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system. The 2004 depth to water measurements were made in many of the wells visited in 1979-81 as part of a previous KGS research effort. Analyses of water-level trends in the hydrographs from monitoring wells in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri were conducted along with water use and population trends in Crawford and Cherokee counties to assess long-term impacts from development.

The results showed significant water-level declines in the Pittsburg-Frontenac area and significant water-level rises in one of the Galena and two of the Baxter Springs wells. The depth to water remained relatively unchanged in the other wells of eastern Cherokee and Crawford counties. Analysis of the hydrographs from Crawford and Cherokee county wells and from wells in adjacent southwest Missouri reveals long-term trends consistent with the water-level changes determined from a comparison of the 1979-81 and 2004 surveys. Changes in water use and in population from 1981-2003 and projected changes in county population suggest that water demand may increase in eastern Crawford County into the future.

Recommendations for the redesign of the Ozark aquifer monitoring network in southeast Kansas were based on (1) the water-level declines in wells tapping the Ozark aquifer, (2) the past and projected water-use and population trends for Crawford and Cherokee counties, (3) the location of pumping centers in southwest Missouri near the border with Kansas, and (4) the effect of aquifer properties and local pumping on the long- and short-term water-level trends. The recommendations are:

The complete report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

ozark_aquifer_revised.pdf (2.2 MB, revised version May 2010)

To read this file, you will need the Acrobat PDF Reader, available free from Adobe.

Kansas Geological Survey, Geohydrology
Placed online Feb. 1, 2006
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