Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Groun-water pollution, drinking water, geohydrology, water quality management


A control site with a natural setting and an experimental site with significant agriculture land use were studied in the Ozark Region of Arkansas in order to determine the effect of land use on water quality in a carbonate rock terrain. The vast majority of the two sites have the Boone Limestone exposed which combined with the underlying St. Joe is the major aquifer for drinking water in the area. The sites also are similar in terms of lineament patterns (number, length and orientation), soil, slope and vegetation. Ground water samples were collected primarily from springs during three seasons (late summer-early fall, winter and spring). All three seasonal collections exhibited statistically higher NO3 (2.31 versus 0.81 mg/L) and Cl (9.9 versus 2.7 mg/L) concentrations in the experimental site. During the winter and spring collections, the experimental site also exhibited statistically higher concentrations (0.5 to 3x) of PO4, SO4, Na, K and Ca. Heavy metals were analyzed in the winter samples; however, the differences between the two sites were small because the absolute values for the two sites were low. For example, the largest difference for a heavy metal was 19 μg/L for Mn (12 versus 31 μg/L). Bacteria determined from the spring season samples showed that the experimental site had significantly higher counts of fecal coliform (86 versus 0.4 col - onies/100 mL) and fecal Streptococcus (39 versus 3 colonies/100 mL) types than the control site. Three springs were also sampled periodically following a rain event of 10 cm. Whereas, levels of specific conductance, NO3, Ca and Na decreased in all three springs, PO4, K, SO4 and fecal coliform increased significantly, primarily in the two experimental springs. The increase of these parameters indicates that they are more available in the experimental area. Based on these results and elemental correlations, it appears that cattle manure, the spreading of chicken manure and commercial fertilizers, and septic tank effluent, individually or in combination, are affecting the water quality of the experimental site. However, most of the ground water samples meet EPA drinking water standards with the possible exception of bacteria.

Report Number

PUB 129