Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program
The maintenance of a baseline description of groundwater quality is an essential element of any statewide comprehensive groundwater protection program. In recent years, concern for the quality of our environment and drinking water has increased as we learn that many states in the country have experienced groundwater contamination from a variety of point and nonpoint sources of pollution.
In North Dakota, a large portion of the potable groundwater resource underlies agricultural areas. Prior to the inception of the Groundwater Monitoring Program in 1992, only limited data was available to assess the impact of agricultural chemicals on the state's groundwater quality. The goal of the Groundwater Monitoring Program is to provide an assessment of the quality of North Dakota's groundwater resources with regard to agricultural chemical contamination.
Several glacial drift aquifers have been monitored each year of the program since 1992. Approximately, the 50 most vulnerable aquifers are included in the program. This priority ranking was determined through application of the North Dakota Geographic Targeting System. The monitoring conducted in 1996 marked the completion of the first five-year round of monitoring high priority glacial drift aquifers in the state. The second five-year round of monitoring began in 1997, during which time the aquifers sampled five years earlier in 1992 were resampled.
Conducting the monitoring on five-year cycles, preferably using most of the same wells for sampling, will provide a temporal assessment of agricultural chemical occurrence in specific aquifers.
For additional information about the North Dakota Ambient Groundwater Monitoring Program or for specific groundwater quality questions please contact the following individual at the NDDH, Division of Water Quality: