Contact: Dennis Cumbie
The Kentucky Geological Survey, with funding provided by the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, conducted water-quality assessments of three Kentucky Army National Guard Training sites: the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Training Site in Muhlenberg County , the Eastern Kentucky Training Site in Powell County , and the Artemus Training Site in Knox County . Water-quality sampling began in the spring of 1998 and continued through the fall of 2003. The focus of water-quality research was to document baseline conditions at each site, while establishing representative sampling sites as part of a Long-term monitoring plan.
Research activities included water sampling for analysis of physical properties (pH, specific conductance, temperature, turbidity) and dissolved contaminants (metals, sulfate, nitrate, chloride, bicarbonate, total dissolved solids), analysis of fish tissue (western Kentucky site only), and analysis of bioavailability of toxic metals in streambed sediments (western and eastern Kentucky sites).
Western Kentucky site results indicate that groundwater and, to a lesser extent, surface water at the site have been affected by previous mining activities, and there is little evidence of impact from military training activities. Water leaving the facility shows some impairment from mining, whereas perimeter wells show no impairment from mining or military activities. Fish-tissue analysis and streambed-sediment analysis shows no detrimental increases in fish toxicity.
At the eastern Kentucky site, results indicate that the quality of surface water has limited impact on water quality of Lilbegrud Creek as it flow past the facility. Surface water at the site is generally well buffered (pH between 6.5 and 7.5) and has low concentrations of dissolved ions compared to primary and secondary drinking-water standards. The impacts of military activities at the site do not appear to be detrimental to water quality.
The quality of surface water at the Artemus site has limited impact on water quality of the Cumberland River as it flows past the facility. Water in wells is characterized by low pH (generally < 7) and higher concentrations of dissolved iron than surface water at the site. Other dissolved constituents, such as sulfate, bicarbonate, magnesium, calcium, and chloride are considerably higher in the Cumberland River than in wells or interior drainage. The impacts of resource extraction (mining, gas wells) and military activities on water quality at the Artemus site do not appear to be detrimental to water quality. These activities do not appear to have any effect on groundwater outside the facility either.