Visual display of the Plover area nitrate study 1986

				
				
				
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Water Resouces Cente
University Of WisCnin.
1975 Willow Drive
Madison, WI 3706
Plover Area Nitrate Study 1986

By
Fred Bailey
Water Supply Manager
Wisconsin Rapids Area
North Central District
Wis. Department of Natural Resources



				
      
      
				
				
Forward
I wish to thank the Public Water Section of the Wis. Department of
Natural Resources for their assistance in making this study a reality.
I also wish to thank the Wis. Geological and Natural History Survey for
their help with the test wells and Mr. John Bruce, Wis. DNR, for helping
with the water sampling.
This report serves to complement the study work done by Mr. George Kraft
on the west side of Plover.     He is studying the nitrate and aldicarb
concentrations there and the two watersheds overlap.     He is a graduate
student and some of his work was funded by the State of Wis.
a
This report also gives the Public Water Section much needed information
on the many other-than-municipal (OTM) and noncommunity water systems
present.   On the basis of this report, variances from meeting the
nitrate health limit will be applied for at two OTM water systems and
one mobile home park was already asked to explore the possibility of a
deeper well.   Yet another mobile home park has already deepened their
well when it became clear lower nitrate water was available at a deeper
depth.
It also appears several restaurants will have        to  continue posting
nitrate warning signs as better water is not available.
Most importantly, this report provides an insight into what is happening
with this watershed and this report illustrates how having intense
agriculture next to businesses serving water is not always compatible
zoning.



				
      
      
				
				
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Purpose...............................
Area Residents
Geology...............................

Sampling    ....

Results.............................................................

Recommendations...................................................

Page
I
3
3

4
12

15



				
      
      
				
				
Purpose
The purpose of this study was to investigate the nitrate content of
the  groundwater  along   highway  54  southeast  of  Plover, Wisconsin.
Specifically   a  3  mile   corridor  of  road   in  Portage  County   was
investigated  located  southeast of   its junction with Highway     B and
northwest of its junction with Highway      51.   This study was to be
research of a pure nature and also of an applied nature.        By this I
mean an assessment was to be made of the groundwater to determine its
present  quality  and   to provide  a benchmark    for  evaluating  future
changes.   Also this data is to be supplied to the various community
leaders in the area so they can use it in planning appropriate land use
activity for the area and planning appropriate well construction.
The study area is located near Stevens Point, WI and is partially
in the Village of Plover and partially in the Township of Plover (See
Map 1).   This corridor is an area where this Department has received
numerous complaints about the drinking water having an elevated nitrate
content.
The State of Wisconsin and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
have set a hitrate nitrogen health limit of 10 parts per million (ppm)
for consumption of this water by infants under six months of age. Water
above this limit might tie up the hemoglobin in a babies bloodstream if
consumed and cause the blue baby symptoms of suffocation.        When the
child becomes older than six months of age and his diet varies, the type
of stomach bacteria present change and this health problem should no
longer be a concern.    Most of the nitrate the typical adult consumes
comes from vegetables and cured meats and such a nitrate intake does not
ordinarily pose any health problems.

-i-



					
				
				
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Area Residents
Some of the families living along this strip have infants and some
just fear they will have a harder time selling their property if it has 4
high nitrate well.    Many of the public businesses such as restaurants
object to posting warning signs on the wall to advise customers of the
nitrate problem and landlords worry about scaring away tenants.     Mobile
home parks with high nitrate for example must distribute notices to
their tenants advising them of the problem.
In spite of these worries, most of the local people have learned to
cope quite easily with this elevated nitrate problem and the Plover area
is one of the fastest growing areas in the state.         Approximately a
thousand people live or work in the study area and more growth is
anticipated.   This   corridor  includes  four  mobile  home  parks,   six
apartment buildings, three restaurants, two hotels, 11 small businesses,
one state wayside and numerous private homes.   The largest concentration
of people living here is in the Plover Pine Village Mobile Home Park
where over 600 people reside.   The few people having infants and a well
with high nitrate water usually just haul in drinking water for formula
until the baby is six months old.
Geology
This area has about a 70 to 100 feet aquifer of coarse sand
overlaying granite rock.    All of the wells sampled were drawing water
from  this   sand  and  gravel   aquifer  and  were   of  varying  depth.
Groundwater is present at about 12 feet and is flowing in approximately
a westward direction according to work done by the Wisconsin Geological
and  Natural  History Survey.   The aquifer  produces abundant  water and

-3-



				
      
      
				
				
there is a lot of irrigated agriculture on the east side of Highway 54.
The enclosed maps indicate the groundwater gradient and also show the
center  pivot  irrigation   systems  present  on  some  of   these  nearby
farmfields (See maps 2 and 3).     The plainfield sand present is quite
suitable for growing potatoes and snap beans.
Sampling
In order to economically assess the quality of the groundwater
present, water samples were collected at 55 wells serving local homes
and businesses (See Map 4 and Table 1). Most of these wells are driven
point wells and there are no construction reports on file for them since
the law requires none.   The owners were asked the depth of their wells
and surprisingly some of them had pretty good records, although I do not
claim 100 percent accuracy on the depth data listed.
Most of these water samples were collected during July and August
of 1986 and all samples were analyzed by the State Lab of Hygiene in
Madison.   In most   cases, only one day's     testing  is. listed  for a
particular well even though many of the public businesses have been
sampled repeatedly by the Department of Natural Resources
Nitrate concentrations in groundwater can fluctuate with changes in
the water table and changes in nearby land usage, but in looking at
several years of data I did not see any great fluctuation in nitrate
concentrations (more than about one and a half parts per million). Most
levels  stayed   quite  constant.   Shallow  wells   are  more  prone   to
fluctuation than deep wells because their water is usually recharged
more locally.
In order to get a complete evaluation of the water quality in the
aquifer from top to bottom, I also needed some deep wells to supplement

-4-



				
      
      
				
				
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Table One

Name and Map Number -
1. Plover Bait & Sporting
2. Standard Station
3. Plover Cafe
4. Adams Service
5. Cecile Rutta
6. Newbys Mobile Park 1
2 (old)
2 (new)
3
4
7. Don Eckerson
8. Sunset Apts.
9. Maple Crest Apts. 2204 Maple
2206 Maple
1810 Rosalie
10. Maple Ridge Park
11. Yellow Freight
12. Sunrise Restaurant
13. Jemco
14. Kramer and Kramer
15. Gallenberg Equipment
16. Moodie Trucking
17. Fred Stroik
18. Jerzak Trucking
19. Wis. Ribstone Silo
20. George Peper

Well Type
Unk.
Drilled
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Drilled
Driven
Drilled
Driven
Driven
Unk.
Driven
Drilled
Driven
Driven
Driven
Unk.
Unk.
Driven
Driven

Well Depth     Sample Date
Unk.          8/08/86
60            8/08/86
Unk.          9/18/85
10/01/86
30            7/21/86
30            3/08/86
63            2/28/86
25            7/21/86
55            8/13/86
64            2/28/86
55            5/27/86
40            7/21/86
cased to 56   2/28/86
65 tot. depth
45?           8/08/86
50'           8/08/86
45'           8/08/86
55            7/15/86
Unk.          7/15/86
72            6/24/86
Unk.          7/15/86
Unk.          7/15/86
25            7/15/86
25            7/15/86
Unk.          4/08/86
Unk.          7/15/86
29            7/15/86
46            7/15/86

N-NO, in .ppm
11.0
6.0
11.2
12.9
27
26.0
6.8
16.5
5.7
6.0
6.0
8.9
7.3
15. 1
18.2
22.0
18.3
16.8
10. 1
11.6
15.3
9.0
5.4
16.2
9.9
6.2
13.9

-8-



					
				
				
21. R. J. Ogurish
22. Gene Berndt
23. Wayside Handpump
24. Test well  70 at wayside
Test well 103 at wayside
Test well unknown soldier
at wayside
25. Tom Cordy Rental
26. Plover Pine Village 1

8
9
10
27. Test well 69
28. Plover Pointe Manor 1
2
29. Plover Town Building/Garage
30. Clifton West
31. Dawn Firkus
32. James Jisko
33. Leroy Simonis
34. Gilbert Higgens
35. E. Ann Buck - Home
E. Ann Buck - Kennel
36. Elizabeth Inn
37. Captains Table

Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Drilled
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Drilled
Unk.
Unk.
Driven
Driven
Driven
Driven
Drilled
Drilled

25
30
23
70
103.5
19.6
45
31
46
46
32
27
46
42
27
30
30
Cased to 63
72 Tot. Depth
69.3
45
45
Unk.
Unk.
Unk.
Unk.
30
25
19
Unk.
Cased to 65
85 Tot. Depth
60

-.9 -

7/15/86
7/15/86
5/20/86
7/15/86
7/15/86
9/25/86
9/25/86
2/05/87
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
11/12/85
12/15/86
7/15/86
9/25/86
9/25/86
7/15/86
8/08/86
7/15/86
8/13/86
7/15/86
7/15/86
8/13/86
8/13/86
7/29/85
7/31/85

22.0
13.9
7.7
13.9
5.7
5.5
2.5
8.7
2.9
3.7
5.0
3.7
2.5
2.7
3.8
6.0
0.7
11.6
11.8
5.9
10.8
3.4
1.4
9.5
3.6
9/8
12.9
3.8
8.1
8.2

7.6



					
				
				
Name and Map Number                   Well Ty
(See Map No. 4)
38. J.T.Ts Little Store and Conoco    Driven
39. Mid-Wisconsin Inn                 Drilled

pe   Well Depth
(in feet)
About 25
Cased to 70
85 Tot. Depth

Sample Date
9/18/85
3/02/85

N-NO, in ppm
2.8
3.7

- 10-



					
				
				
the data from the predominately shallow wells already present.         The
Wisconsiz Geological and Natural History Survey was hired to install
three deep test wells in the study area.    These wells had three and one
half foot steel drive points on the end and were constructed of one and
one quarter inch steel.   They were protected from vandalism by setting
four inch well casing over them and padlocking down a removeable top.
The wells were vigorously bailed by using a pitcher pump.
Two wells were installed on the state highway wayside.        One of
these was 103 feet deep and believed to be close to the granite and the
other was   70 feet deep.    Besides the waysides existing handpump      a
forgotten driven point well from some other researcher was also found.
This one and one quarter inch well was 19.6 feet deep and dubbed the
"Unknown Soldier".    It too was pressed into service for a nitrate
sample.
The third test well was installed just off Forest Avenue and it was
sixty nine feet deep.   The WGNHS felt they definitely hit granite when
constructing this well after examining the drill cuttings recovered. We
now believe the well serving Plover Pine Village System No. 10 also
termintes just above the granite as it is nearby.
Another deep well chosen for this study is the one serving Sunrise
Restaurant. A new two inch well was constructed there during the summer
of 1986 to try and avoid the nitrate problem.   This well is 72 feet deep
and the contractor felt he was definitely stopped from driving further
because he hit the granite . Since this area has few large rocks, we
encountered none, he    is probably   right.   Water   samples were also
collected at the deep wells serving Sunset Terrace Apartments and Mid
Wis. Inn.

- 11 -



					
				
				
By sampling these deep well sites, as shown on Map No. 5, I was
able to get data from several deep wells located fairly equidistant
along the Highway 54 corridor.   The amount of sand and gravel overburden
above the granite lessened as one drove closer to the Wisconsin River
Results
From looking at table one, you can see most of the area wells had
an elevated nitrate nitrogen content in their water.    Thirty one of the
fifty five wells sampled showed an elevated nitrate content above eight
parts per million (ppm).   There were a number of wells with nine to ten
ppm nitrate and these might easily exceed the health limit of 10 ppm
under certain conditions. Twenty two of the wells sampled were actually
above the 10 ppm health limit for nitrate and four of these wells were
above 20 ppm. The highest value reported being 27 ppm nitrate nitrogen.
The area most affected by the nitrate problem is the strip between
Adams Service, plotted as site number 4 on map No. 4, and Ribstone Silo,
plotted as site number 19.     Most of the wells in this area had an
extremely elevated nitrate content and high nitrate water is still
present just above the granite, although not as high. As you go further
southeast, the sand and gravel overburden increases and it appears one
could drill a deep well to get beneath the problem.     This idea is best
illustrated by the work done on the state wayside.        At 70 feet the
nitrate level was 13.9 ppm but at 103 feet the nitrate level had dropped
off to just 5.5 ppm nitrate.
The wayside itself is an interesting study area.     It is literally
surrounded by irrigated agriculture yet the 23 foot deep handpump tested

- 12 -



				
      
      
				
				
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out at only 7.7 ppm nitrate.   In looking across the potato field one can
see that.Tom Cordy owns a 40 acre parcel nearby and it is likely some of
the recharge for this well is coming from this wooded forty.      It does
appear this wayside handpump could be easily affected by local farming
practices such as usage of fertilizers and pesticides.    I discussed this
concern with the State Highway Department and they may switch to the 103
foot deep steel test well for their water.
The predominant source of the elevated nitrate in the study area is
from the vast number of farm fields located upgradient of these wells.
Potatoes in particular require a lot of nitrogen in order to grow a good
crop.   The soil is so coarse it is easy for a small amount of this
fertilizer to leach into the groundwater after a heavy rain rather than
be taken up by the plants. Since groundwater moves so slowly it takes a
long time for such a problem to flush through and it is extremely
difficult to completely eliminate some leaching from again occurring.
Any overfertilizing and overwatering of crops in this area should be
avoided.
Since much of the study area is inside the Village of Plover and
this area is served by the village sewer system, nitrogen loading from
human waste should not be a major factor. There are some private septic
systems on the south end of the study and they would contribute some
nitrate but they are not very dense.     Because this is not an area of
fancy lawns and shrubbery, it being more commercial, I also doubt
excessive  use  of  lawn  fertilizer  contributes much    to  the nitrate
problem.
Much of this area has been sampled for various pesticides and
herbicides  over the years.   While problems  from such products have not

- 14 -



					
				
				
been very acute, isolated detections have served to heighten overall
concern .among area residents.    This matter is not discussed in this
paper because it is a large topic just in itself.
Throughout this study, I was struck by how very fragile this area
really is.   People with shallow wells are probably getting their well
water recharged from a very close area.   The importance of good land use
practices and compatible zoning cannot be underestimated.
Recommendations
1.) Since much of this narrow strip has an elevated nitrate content it
is advisable the village and township not allow a lot of "water
serving" businesses such as restaurants or apartment buildings be
constructed here.   The present environmental problems seems most
compatible with development by small shops, service garages and
continued   agricultural   use.    Businesses   serving   water   and
residential developments would again run into the stumbling block
of having wells with an elevated nitrate content.
2.) The Village of Plover should continue with its efforts to obtain a
municipal water supply for its residents.   I realize it will take a
number of years and a terrific cost for the village to obtain such
a supply and install the water mains.    Such an installation is the
only way for Plover to avoid the type of conflicts discussed in
this study.
3.)  Every effort should be made by      local farmers to use no more
nitrogen based fertilizer than necessary and to not over-irrigate
their crops. A good rotation of crops is helpful in this matter as

- 15 -



				
      
      
				
				
some need less nitrogen than others and there is less likelihood of
insect infestations.
4.)  The area again be sampled in three years to see if the nitrate
levels in the groundwater are increasing or decreasing.

- 16 -



					
				
				
89072241813
b89072241813a



				
      
      
				
				
050875- Plover Area Nitrate
Study, 1986
Water Resources Center
University of Wisconsin -;M
1975 Willow Drive



					
				
				
89072241813
B8072241813