Groundwater Monitoring Programs
The Agricultural and Western Groundwater Monitoring Programs were established to determine the impacts on the state’s groundwater quality by agriculture and oilfield activities, respectively, while maintaining baseline descriptions of general water chemistry in these areas. Both programs monitor surficial aquifers that are more vulnerable to these types of contamination. Many North Dakotans rely on groundwater sources, especially surficial aquifers, for drinking water and various other uses; ensuring the state’s water stays free of contamination helps preserve the water for these uses both now and in the future.
Agricultural Groundwater Monitoring Program
The Agricultural Groundwater Monitoring Program was established in 1992 to monitor North Dakota’s groundwater for agricultural contaminants, including nitrates and pesticide compounds. Groundwater samples from wells within the aquifers are also analyzed for general water chemistry and trace metal parameters. The program includes over 800 wells spread across approximately 50 surficial aquifers. Aquifers are sampled once every five years. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) prioritized the aquifers for sampling using the department’s Geographic Targeting System, which ranks aquifers based on their vulnerability, sensitivity, and risk of agricultural contamination. The NDDEQ samples the aquifers every five years. See the publications tab above for available program monitoring results.
Western Groundwater Monitoring Program
The Western Groundwater Monitoring Program was established in 2013 to monitor North Dakota’s groundwater for signs of contamination resulting from increased oilfield activities in the Bakken area of northwestern North Dakota. The NDDEQ analyzes groundwater samples for gasoline and diesel range hydrocarbons; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes; bromide; strontium; chloride; and other trace metal and general water chemistry parameters. The program includes over 120 wells spread across approximately 20 surficial aquifers. The NDDEQ samples the aquifers every 1.5 years. Surficial aquifers that have monitoring wells available and fall within counties with oilfield activity were included in the program. See the publications tab above for available program monitoring results.