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Ground-Water Levels in Huron County, Michigan, January 1996 through December 1996

By: Sweat, M.J.


In 1990, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a study of the hydrogeology of Huron County, Michigan (Sweat, 1991). In 1993, Huron County and the USGS entered into an agreement to continue collecting water levels at selected wells throughout Huron County. As part of the agreement, the USGS has provided training and instrumentation for County personnel to measure, on a quarterly basis, the depth to water below the land surface in selected wells. The agreement includes the operation of continuous water-level recorders installed on four wells in Bingham, Fairhaven, Grant and Lake Townships (fig. 1). County personnel make quarterly water-level measurements of 22 other wells. Once each year, County personnel are accompanied by USGS personnel who provide a quality assurance/quality control check of all measurements being made.
Precipitation and the altitude of Lake Huron are good indicators of general climatic conditions and, therefore, provide an environmental context for ground-water levels in Huron County. Figure 2 shows the mean monthly water-level altitude of Lake Huron, averaged from measurements made by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at two sites, and mean monthly precipitation as recorded in Huron County, for the period October 1988 through December 1996. In general, Lake Huron water levels in 1996 were about the same as they were from 1992-94 (NOAA, 1988-96). Precipitation was generally within the normal range, but was lower than 1993 or 1994. Rainfall during May, June, and July was, cumulatively, about 8.5 inches less in 1995 than in 1994.

Hydrographs are presented for each of four wells with water-level recorders. Quarterly water-level measurements and range of water levels during 1996 for the other 22 wells are shown graphically and tabulated.
In general, water levels in the glaciofluvial aquifer reflect seasonal variations, with maximum depths to water occurring in late summer and early fall and minimum depths to water occurring in late winter and early spring. In general, wells completed in the lower part of the Marshall aquifer continue to show an increase in water-level altitude from the original project period (1988-90); wells completed in the upper part of the Marshall aquifer showed little variation in water-level altitudes compared to previous years. Wells completed in the Saginaw aquifer continued to show higher water level altitudes in 1995, not only near the lake but also farther inland, while water-level altitudes in wells completed in the Coldwater confining unit showed a small increase from the original project period. Water-level altitudes were higher in the southwest and central parts of the County during 1995 than in the previous year, and water-level altitudes were for the most-part unchanged in the northwest, northeast, and southeast parts of the county during 1995. All wells with recorders had lower water levels in September 1995 than in 1993-94. Lower than average precipitation during May-August is the primary reason for lower levels.

Sweat, M.J., 1997, Ground-Water Levels in Huron County, Michigan, January 1996 through December 1996, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-196, 9 p.

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