Evaluating Decadal Changes in Groundwater Quality: Groundwater quality data were collected from 5,000 wells between 1988-2001 (first sampling event) by the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Project. Samples are collected in groups of 20-30 wells with similar characteristics called networks. About 1,500 of these wells in 67 networks were sampled about 10 years later between 2002-2012 (second sampling event) to evaluate decadal changes in groundwater quality. Between 2012 and 2014 (third sampling event), a subset of these networks has been sampled again, allowing additional results to be displayed on the web page: Decadal changes in groundwater quality. Changes to this web page are referred to herein as Version 2.0. With the additional data, it is possible to evaluate changes in water quality between the 2nd and 3rd sampling event for 16 networks, changes in water quality between the 1st and 3rd sampling event for 13 networks, and changes across all 3 sampling events for 14 networks. A total of 73 networks have been sampled at least twice. Samples were obtained from monitoring wells, domestic-supply wells, and some public-supply wells before any treatment on the system.
Groundwater samples used to evaluate decadal change were collected from networks of wells with similar characteristics. Some networks, consisting of domestic or public supply wells, were used to assess changes in the quality of groundwater used for drinking water supply. Other networks, consisting of monitoring wells, assessed changes in the quality of shallow groundwater underlying key land use types such as agricultural or urban lands. Networks were chosen based on geographic distribution across the Nation and to represent the most important water-supply aquifers and specific land-use types.
Online Mapper Showing Decadal Changes in Groundwater Quality: Decadal changes in concentrations of pesticides, nutrients, metals, and organic contaminants in groundwater were evaluated in a total of 73 networks across the Nation comparing changes between selected sampling events.
Decadal changes in median concentrations for a network are classified as large, small, or no change in comparison to a benchmark concentration. For example, a large change in chloride concentrations indicates that the median of all differences in concentrations in a network is greater than 5 percent of the chloride benchmark per decade. For chloride, which has a Secondary Maximum Contaminant level of 250 milligrams per liter, this would mean the change in concentration exceeded 12.5 milligrams per liter, or 5 percent of the benchmark.
Decadal Groundwater Quality Networks: 230 networks were sampled from 1998 to 2001 to assess the status of the Nation's groundwater quality. Each dot on the above map represents the center point of a network of about 20 to 30 wells. Networks sampled in the first round only are shown in green. 67 networks were resampled from 2002 to 2012 to assess decadal changes in groundwater quality and are shown in blue. Networks sampled from 2012 to 2014 and at least one previous round are shown in orange. A total of 73 networks have been sampled at least twice.
The data release consists of 20 data tables that are described by 5 metadata records. The metadata records and associated data tables are:
1) Ancillary_Data_Table_V2_Metadata.xml, explains table: Ancillary_Data_Table_V2.csv.
2) Individual_Constituent_Data_Tables_V2_Metadata.xml, explains tables: Arsenic_Data_Table_V2.csv, Boron_Data_Table_V2.csv, Chloride_Data_Table_V2.csv, Fluoride_Data_Table_V2.csv, Iron_Data_Table_V2.csv, Manganese_Data_Table_V2.csv, Molybdenum_Data_Table_V2.csv, Nitrate_Data_Table_V2.csv, Sodium_Data_Table_V2.csv, Strontium_Data_Table_V2.csv, Sulfate_Data_Table_V2.csv, TDS_Data_Table_V2.csv, and Uranium_Data_Table_V2.csv.
3) Inorganic_Statistics_Tables_V2_Metadata.xml, explains tables: Inorganic_Statistics_Table_C12_V2.csv, Inorganic_Statistics_Table_C13_V2.csv, Inorganic_Statistics_Table_C23_V2.csv, and Inorganic_Statistics_Table_C123_V2.csv.
4) Network_Centroids_Decadal_Change_V2_Metadata.xml, explains table: Network_Centroids_Decadal_Change_V2.csv.
5) Network_wells_Decadal_Change_V2_Metadata.xml, explains table: Network_wells_Decadal_Change_V2.csv.
Also included in this data release is the file Decadal_Change_in_Groundwater_Quality_V1_Organics.zip. This file contains the organics data tables and metadata from version 1, "Data from Decadal Change in Groundwater Quality Web Site, 1988-2012". The tables and metadata have not received any additional editing but are included here for easier access.