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Inhabitants and businesses within The Village of Red Hook, located in Dutchess County, NY, utilize private septic systems for wastewater treatment—which are known to return 70% of the water used into the watershed, by discharging septic system effluent into nearby groundwater. The Village of Red Hook’s source of drinking water is from a subsurface aquifer, which is located beneath the Village, and the large concentrations of local septic systems have the potential to adversely influence the quality of nearby groundwater and surface water. Thus, the purpose of this project was to monitor and sample from two surface water sites and six groundwater wells in Red Hook, during ten dates— from September through November of 2016—to analyze the water quality characteristics for: (1) Potential indicators of wastewater contamination; and, (2) Indications of connectivity between groundwater wells and surface water sites.
Samples were analyzed for: pH, salinity; turbidity; conductivity; optical brighteners; total coliform bacteria; E. Coli; and, Enterococcus.
The northernmost well had the highest quantity of wastewater contaminates—bacteria, turbidity and optical brighteners. The eastern well had higher levels of turbidity and optical brighteners but no bacterial presence. The southern well was the only groundwater well which was within the EPA drinking water standard. Both surface water sites had bacterial levels above the EPA recreational water standard.
The low moisture conditions resulted in no notable connectivity between the groundwater wells. Some level of significant interaction and connectivity was supported between the northernmost groundwater well and northernmost Saw Kill surface site.
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Feldman, Kyle Abraham, "Water Security in the Village of Red Hook, New York: Monitoring Groundwater and Surface Water Sources for Potential Indications of Contamination" (2017). Senior Projects Spring 2017. 115.