Nov 10, 2011

USGS Groundwater Study Seeking Permission From Private Well Owners in Vienna, Mo.

Scientists to test samples for VOCs, develop maps showing groundwater flow directions

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is seeking permission from select local residents near Vienna, Mo., to conduct groundwater measurements in their private domestic wells.

USGS scientists will be measuring water levels, which will then be used to develop maps that show groundwater flow directions in the area. Scientists will also collect water quality samples from wells. The information will be shared with each individual well owner.

The cooperation of landowners with private wells is important to the success of the study. USGS scientists will be in the area during November and December and asking landowners for permission to access their wells. The USGS employees participating in the study will be driving U.S. government-tagged vehicles and will have a U.S. government picture ID readily visible.

Groundwater levels typically fluctuate throughout the year. They are usually highest during the winter and early spring, and then gradually drop throughout the summer and fall months. Water drawdown in wells may be larger than usual because of the recent abnormally hot and dry summer, and the current water level may be of interest to the well owner.

Scientists will be collecting water samples to test for the presence of volatile organic compounds, such as those that have been detected in the public supply wells in Vienna. The sampling requires that the water be allowed to flow from the hydrant nearest the well for about 20 to 30 minutes before the sample is collected. This purging process allows new water from the aquifer to flush any stagnant water that has been retained in the standpipe of the well, pressure tank, or any other plumbing before the sample is collected. The sampling results will be shared with the landowner when the analyses are completed.

This work is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of a three-year study that began earlier this year. The study area is bounded by the Gasconade River to the east and the Maries River to the west and approximately three miles to the north and south of Vienna.