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Abstract

Eighty-one water samples were collected from wells in the Boone-St. Joe limestone aquifer of northwest Arkansas and analyzed for fecal coliform, fecal streptococcus, total coliform bacteria, chloride, phosphate, nitrate and sulfate to determine the degree of contamination. Forty-nine percent of the samples had fecal streptococcus counts greater than 1 colony per 100 ml, 68% had total coliform counts of 1 or more colonies per 100 ml, and 9% of the wells had fecal coliform counts of 1 or more colonies per 100 ml. Water from wells in Clarksville, Nixa, Noark, Tonti and Waben cherty silt loam soils showed from 83 to 100% bacterial contamination. Nitrate concentrations exceeded 45 ppm in 80% of the wells in Waben soils and in 50% of wells in Nixa soils, with wells in the other soil types having nitrate concentrations of less than 45 ppm. Nitrate, sulfate, and chloride concentrations were all found to be statistically related. Wells closest to chicken houses were found to have statistically greater choloride concentrations. Chloride was also found to be statistically greater in wells with shallow casing. Wells within 150 meters of a photo-lineament were found to have greater fecal coliform contamination than wells farther away. The results indicate the ease at which wells can be contaminated with only shallow casing, in cherty soils, and/or near chicken houses or fractures (photo-lineaments)

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