Use of Tracer Dye Techniques Is Assessing Ground Water Availabilty and Quality in a Karst Aquifer System (Project Overview)

The primary objective of this project is to demonstrate the use of tracer dye techniques as part of a comprehensive program to characterize and monitor a ground water source.

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Problem: The Leetown Science Center and ~ 500 acre research facility operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Resources Division (BRD) In West Virginia investigates the health and habitats of aquatic species. Large quantities of good quality cold water are needed to support this research. Most of the water used for operations at the Science Center comes from a series of highly productive karst limestone springs located on the facility.

Recent drought conditions greatly reduced the volume of flow and resulted in decreased water quality. Recharge areas, flow characteristics, and water quality were assessed using a variety of techniques including dye tracing.