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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program

The statewide Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program provides baseline groundwater data on aquifer characterization, ambient groundwater quality and nonpoint source pollution. Groundwater, including public water supplies and private-sector wells and springs, are sampled quarterly and analyzed for hundreds of parameters, including metals, nutrients, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.

Currently active sites provide data on granular aquifers, alluvial aquifers, karst terrains and fracture-flow dominated aquifers. One-time ambient groundwater samples are often collected as part of ongoing citizen complaint investigations to assist private citizens with care and maintenance of water wells and springs. Analyses from these one-time sites are added to the program's database, thus broadening the information base on ambient groundwater in Kentucky. Many of the wells and springs sampled in emergency response situations represent ambient groundwater conditions and are also added to the network database.

Additional wells and springs are sampled as a part of the Kentucky Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program investigations. The groundwater studies occurring as part of these investigations, funded by Clean Water Act Section 319 grants, are carried out for surface and subsurface water on a yearly rotating basis in each of five major basin management units that correspond to major river watersheds in the state. All 319 grant groundwater sites are sampled on a varying schedule with the same protocol and parameters as the Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program, and this data is added to the database to further enhance groundwater information in Kentucky.

Information from the Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program is providing the geochemical data necessary to help characterize, protect and manage this important resource.

Data collected from all of the above are available from the Kentucky Groundwater Data Repository at the Kentucky Geological Survey. For further information about the repository, contact Bart Davidson at the Kentucky Geological Survey.

Nonpoint Source Groundwater Monitoring Program

In order to investigate the occurrence of nonpoint source pollution in groundwater, the Groundwater Section administers several nonpoint source monitoring projects throughout the state.

Nonpoint sources are defined as any source other than from a specific single discharge, such as a pipe. Typical nonpoint sources of groundwater pollution include pesticides and nutrients from row crop production, hydrocarbons and chlorides from oil and gas exploration and production, and pollutants associated with urban runoff, such as salting of roadways and the application of lawn chemicals.

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