Characterization of Groundwater Hydrology for Nitrate Contamination Analysis


One of the primary problems that scientists encounter when attempting to evaluate and ensure groundwater quality is the difficulty and expense of obtaining sufficient data for hydrological modeling. Consequently, scientists frequently desire to minimize the number of monitoring wells that are necessary to obtain sufficient data for their modeling purposes. They desire to increase their efficiency by extrapolating the data from one set to others that are similar. Frequently this is done subjectively based on field expertise. This study seeks to investigate more mathematical approaches to the process. In this study correlations between nitrate concentrations and hydrogeological conditions have been investigated. Quarterly data from 37 monitoring wells from 2003-2010 in Jacksonville, FL are considered. They are clustered using the K-means method based on characteristics of hydraulic conductivity, drainage type, septic tank density, and elevation difference within a 1000 ft. radius zone around each well. The overall purpose of the study is to determine how much nitrate contamination can be reduced by eliminating septic tanks in favor of a central sewage system in Jacksonville.