Survey of Rural, Private Wells: Statistical Design

by Edward Mehnert, Illinois State Geological Survey, Champaign, United States,
Susan C. Schock, Illinois State Geological Survey, Champaign, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Symposium on Ground Water


Half of Illinois' 38 million acres were planted in corn and soybeans in 1988. On the 19 million acres planted in corn and soybeans, approximately 1 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer and 50 million pounds of pesticides were applied. Because groundwater is the water supply for over 90 percent of rural Illinois, the occurrence of agricultural chemicals in groundwater in Illinois is of interest to the agricultural community, the public, and regulatory agencies. The occurrence of agricultural chemicals in groundwater is well documented. However, the extent of this contamination still needs to be defined. This can be done by randomly sampling wells across a geographic area. Key elements of a random, water-well sampling program for regional groundwater quality include the overall statistical design of the program, definition of the sample population, selection of wells to be sampled, and analysis of survey results. These elements must be consistent with the purpose for conducting the program; otherwise, the program will not provide the desired information. The need to carefully design and conduct a sampling program becomes readily apparent when one considers the high cost of collecting and analyzing a sample. For a random sampling program conducted in Illinois, the key elements, as well as the limitations imposed by available information, are described.

Subject Headings: Rural areas | Statistics | Water pollution | Water supply | Agricultural wastes | Water sampling | Groundwater pollution | Crops | Illinois | United States

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