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Hydrogeology Section

Selected Projects

Evaluation of Temporal Trends in the Ground-Water Quality of Springs and Wells in Florida

Contact: Rick Copeland and Neal Doran (FDEP/Division of Water Resource Management)

For decades, Floridians have been interested in the quality of spring and well water. By the early 1900s only a handful of springs have bee analyzed for their chemical constituents. However the number of springs sampled and the chemical constituents analyzed increased through the first half of the 20th century. By the 1947, the FGS published an inventory of springs in Florida, which included water quality analyses (Springs of Florida, Bulletin 31). The publication was revised in 1977, and in 2004, a second publication regarding the springs of Florida, including water quality analyses, was published by the FGS (Bulletin 66).

It should be noted that nitrate (nitrate plus nitrite as N, but referred to as nitrate) concentrations have been increasing in springs for the past several decades (see figure ). Although this has been an impetus in recent years for increased spring monitoring, the state is interested in many chemicals, not only from springs, but also wells. Over the years, the water management districts and other organizations began sampling the analyzing the water quality from both springs and well. Although today it can be said that many spring and wells have been sampled, only a few have been monitored consistently for an entire suite of chemical for more than a decade. However, by the early 1990s, over 70 springs and about 50 wells were being monitored for water quality on a semi-regular basis.

For this project, the FGS is statistically evaluating data collected from about 120 springs and wells for the period 1991 - 2003 and address several related questions. Is the water quality in springs improving, degrading, or is it staying approximately the same over the years? If the water quality is degrading, which constituents are they? What are the probable causes of the degradation? For degraded water, what might be done in order to improve water quality? The report is scheduled for completion during calendar year 2005.

Focus Areas
graph showing Median Nitrate Concentration in 13 selected first-magnitude springs in Florida

Last updated: November 10, 2014

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