Report Abstract

GROUND-WATER QUALITY, WATER YEAR 1995, AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF GROUND-WATER-QUALITY DATA, WATER YEARS 1994-95, AT THE CHROMIC ACID PIT SITE, U.S. ARMY AIR DEFENSE ARTILLERY CENTER AND FORT BLISS, EL PASO, TEXAS

BY CYNTHIA G. ABEYTA AND RAYMOND G. ROYBAL

The Chromic Acid Pit site is an inactive waste disposal site that is regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976. The 2.2-cubic-yard cement-lined pit was operated from 1980 to 1983 by a contractor to the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Center and Fort Bliss. The pit, located on the Fort Bliss military reservation in El Paso, Texas, was used for disposal and evaporation of chromic acid waste generated from chrome plating operations. The site was closed in 1989, and the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission issued permit number HW-50296 (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency number TX4213720101), which approved and implemented post-closure care for the Chromic Acid Pit site. In accordance with an approved post-closure plan, the U.S. Geological Survey is cooperating with the U.S. Army in monitoring and evaluating ground-water quality at the site. One upgradient ground-water monitoring well (MW1) and two downgradient ground-water monitoring wells (MW2 and MW3), installed adjacent to the chromic acid pit, are monitored on a quarterly basis. Ground-water sampling of these wells by the U.S. Geological Survey began in December 1993.

The ground-water level, measured in a production well located approximately 1,700 feet southeast of the Chromic Acid Pit site, has declined about 29.43 feet from 1982 to 1995. Depth to water at the Chromic Acid Pit site in September 1995 was 284.2 to 286.5 feet below land surface; ground-water flow at the water table is assumed to be toward the southeast.

Ground-water samples collected from monitoring wells at the Chromic Acid Pit site during water year 1995 contained dissolved- solids concentrations of 481 to 516 milligrams per liter. Total chromium concentrations detected above the laboratory reporting limit ranged from 0.0061 to 0.030 milligram per liter; dissolved chromium concentrations ranged from 0.0040 to 0.010 milligram per liter. Nitrate as nitrogen concentrations ranged from 2.1 to 2.8 milligrams per liter; nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen concentrations ranged from 2.4 to 3.2 milligrams per liter. Water samples from wells MW1 and MW2 were analyzed for volatile organic compounds for the first quarter; no confirmed volatile organic compounds were detected above laboratory reporting limits. Detected chemical concentrations in water from the chromic acid pit monitoring wells during the four sampling periods were below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-established maximum contaminant levels for public drinking-water supplies. Overall, water-quality characteristics of water from the chromic acid pit ground-water monitoring wells are similar to those of other wells in the surrounding area.

Statistical analyses were performed on 56 of the chemical constituents analyzed for in ground water from the chromic acid pit monitoring wells. Concentrations of chloride, fluoride, sulfate, and potassium were significantly less in water from one or both downgradient wells than in water from the upgradient well. Concentrations of nitrate as nitrogen, nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, and dissolved solids were significantly greater in water from the downgradient wells than in water from the upgradient well. Concentrations of nitrate as nitrogen, chloride, and potassium were significantly different in water from the two downgradient wells. Statistical analysis of chemical constituents in water from the chromic acid pit monitoring wells did not appear to indicate a release of hazardous chemicals from the chromic acid pit. There was no indication of ground-water contamination in either downgradient well.

Abstract from Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4211



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