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Geology/city water or ground water/spring


"I have a problem with water leaching into my yard and the city tells me it is not their water. I have had a private company test the water for chlorine and fluoride and the readings they get are 10x higher than the city's test results. The test results from the private co. samples are :

1 sample taken from my yard in a hole I dug the night before.

2 sample taken from a French drain discharge 150 ft. from the water source in yard. discharge is underground and has a lot of 1"rock buried w/ the pipe.

1 chlorine .33 mg/l

2 chlorine . 03 mg/l

1 fluoride .45 mg/l

2 fluoride .37 mg/l

no lawn fertilizer on yard since 08/2013

the city sample did not turn pink when they added a catalyst. private co. added catalyst and immediately turned pink.
1.will fluoride and chlorine dissipate if it is filtering through soil and rock ? there an analytical test to distinguish between natural occurring fluoride and the chemical fluorosilic acid that is added at the treatment plant ? we have spent 12,000$ trying to divert the water away from the foundation of our home and it continues to follow the water and electric services underground to our foundation. we are trying to get the city to look for a leak , but they insist that it is spring water or ground water. we are desperate for help and answers. thank you very much for any help at all.


What part of Arkansas do you live in?

The first thing I would do is look at the ground water table in your location.  Generally the ground water table runs parallel to the ground surface, but not always.  If you look at the lie of the surface you can get an approximation of the direction the water is coming from.  That should give you an idea of the direction you need to focus on.

I would go to the county engineer's office, or the water companies offices and ask to see the engineering drawings of the pipelines in the area.  There might be a variety of sources you could draw on, to locate any water bearing pipelines in the area.

The only way it could be a spring is if you have uplands nearby and a confined aquifer.  You would need to obtain a public hydrologic survey publication for your area.  They might be available at the local university, or at the county extension agent's office.  They will show any springs and confined aquifers in the area.   A confined aquifer is a water bearing unit of soil or rock that is bound on top and bottom by what we call an aquitard, or aquiclude, that is a unit of soil or rock through which water will not pass.  So it makes the aquifer act like a pipe, and the spring occurs were there is a "leak" or an intersection of the aquifer with the surface allowing the water to bubble up.  The pressure driving the water is provided by the hydraulic head, or the difference in elevation between the recharge area, in the hills, and the spring itself.  It works on the same principle that a water tower does.  Water is pumped up into the tower and the difference in elevation between the tower and your water tap, provides the water pressure you get in your home.  That's why the pressure drops in the morning when everyone is showering getting ready for work.

I think you should contact the state geologic survey and see if they have ground water quality test results for your area.  If they do you could compare them with your numbers.  Likewise see if anyone around you has a ground water well and has test results for their water.

That will give you a baseline of what the local ground water is like and if yours is ground water or something else.

The pipeline info should help you ID any potential sources.  The local geologic survey and the state environmental protection agency should have information on nearby wells, both domestic drinking wells and any industrial wells that might be nearby.

If someone or some company has an impoundment up gradient from you, either a commercial impoundment or even a leaking swimming pool, it could be the source of your seepage.  

Check out google earth aerial photos for sources up gradient of you.  You might even be able to see dark moisture patterns on the surface or more rank green vegetation where the soil is more moist due to the seepage, giving you an indication of where the moisture is coming from and the path it is taking.  Vegetation can be a good indicator especially if the area is somewhat dry normally.  Images from the hottest and driest time of the year would be the best.

Without specifics of where you are, I can't draw any more conclusions for you.


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Keith Patton


I can answer questions concerning physical and historical geology, environmental geology/hydrology, environmental consulting, remote sensing/aerial photo interpretation, G&G computer applications, petroleum exploration, drilling, geochemistry, geochemical and microbiological prospecting, 3D reservoir modeling, computer mapping and drilling.I am not a geophysicist.


I have 24 years experience split between the petroleum and environmental industries. I have served as an expert witness in remote sensing, developmental geologist, exploration geologist, enviromental project manager, and subject matter expert in geology and geophysical software development.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Association of Photogrammetrists and Remote Sensing

Bachelor and Master of Science
Registered Geologist in State of Texas

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