Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. W. Thomas Straw

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Passero

Third Advisor

Dr. John D. Grace

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Private wells were tested for nitrate during the spring of 1979 throughout sections of Antwerp Township, Van Buren County, southwestern Michigan (sections 1-5, 7-22, 24-26, 28-31, 33-36). Water samples were collected from 159 private wells and analyzed for nitrate. Nitrate concentrations ranged from less than 1 mg/1 NO3-N to 14.6 mg/1 NO3-N. Seven wells were found to have nitrate concentrations equaling or exceeding the National Interim Primary Drinking Water Standard of 10 mg/1 NO3-N. Nitrate concentrations were related to age of septic system, well depth below static water level, land use, and soil type. Septic system effluent and livestock wastes were found to correlate closely with high nitrate concentration (greater than 10 mg/1 NO3-N), resulting from nitrification and leaching of wastes through highly permeable soils to the ground water. Shallow wells located at sites with older septic systems showed the highest average nitrate concentrations. Wells located on farm sites had higher nitrate concentrations. Wells that were deepest below static water level had lower nitrate concentrations. All soil types posed severe limitations for septic systems as defined by the Soil Conservation Service, with wells located in areas of Spinks Sand showing the highest nitrate concentrations.

Included in

Geology Commons