Real Estate Development Support: Nitrate Loading/Ground Water Availability Assessments

Besides site water supply development and permitting for sites that will be served by municipal water, Geological Services Inc provides both nitrate loading and ground water availability studies for developments to be served by on-lot septic and/or individual residential wells.

Nitrate Loading Studies:  In the past 20 years, Geological Services has completed dozens of nitrate loading studies which are required by State and local regulations to determine the minimum lot size required to dilute nitrate discharge from on-lot septic systems to acceptable levels.  Our studies are conducted on a lump sum basis so the property owner can count on the project being completed exactly as budgeted with no later surprises.  The studies involve:

  • Review of existing background information compiled by the US Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geological Surveys, and other agencies to determine the geological setting of the site and to determine the local basin from which groundwater samples must be collected.
  • Collection of six or more groundwater samples followed by analyses for nitrate, fecal coliform and total bacteria.  Bacteriological studies are conducted to eliminate high nitrate concentrations caused by surface water or septic system discharges that could bias the sampling and lead to a larger than necessary minimum lot size
  • Completion of mathematical evaluation of allowable additional nitrate loading using nitrate analyses collected by GSI from wells located at and near the subject  property and based on review of regional geological data.
  • Delineation of groundwater easement areas if necessary to allow development of lot sizes less than the minimum determined by the loading evaluation
  • Preparation of a brief report summarizing the results of the project and providing specific recommendations regarding the capacity of the site to support on-site septic systems.

 

Groundwater Availability Studies: Geological Services has also completed dozens of groundwater availability studies as required by agencies including the Susquehanna River Basin Commission as well as a variety of local and regional planning and zoning agencies.  These studies have involved:

  • Review of existing background information compiled by the US Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geological Surveys, and other agencies to determine the geological setting of the site, and to determine the average and drought year rates of groundwater recharge for the geological formations underlying the area in question.
  • Computation of the recharge to groundwater to the proposed development area
  • Calculation of the maximum number of wells that could be sustained by the available water resources
  • Determination of minumum well spacing to avoid well-to-well interference during drought year pumping cycles