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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
published by BUREAU OF GEOLOGY
- THE CHEMICAL TYPE OF WATER IN FLORIDA STREAMS
Matthew I. Kaufman
Prepared by the
UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
an cooperation with the
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
DIVISION OF INTERIOR RESOURCES
BUREAU OF GEOLOGY
The chemical quality of surface water in Flonda differs widely, both
in composition and in concentration of major sons. The nature and
concentration of tons in solution te influenced by many interrelated
factors, including the chemical composition of rainfall and also the
reaction of water with sod, bed materials, decomposing organic matter,
and surficia rocks. In addition, vacations inm streamflow, activity of
aquatic organisms and the input from arteia springs, industrial and
municpal waste-loading, and agricultural runoff are also important
Dfmition of the mafor iomc patterns, both under varyrmg
streamflow conditions and from place to place, provides insight into the
impact of environment on the chemical quahty ot surface water in
This report (1) portrays inorganic chemical quality characteristics of
Florida stream, and delineates broad regions of the State where
stream waters we of sma archemical type tomea composition) during
low flow, and. (2) orelates chemical quality of surface waters with
changes to streamfow and w-th certain natural and manmade
environmental influences. Similary, Rainwater (1962) i An eaher
report presented a generaloed map portraying the prevalent chemical
Stype of water min malor r fver of the United State,
The material presented herein should provide the reader with an
understanding of some of the regional differences and dynamic aspect,
of surface water quality m Florida, useful for sound management of the
State's water resources In addition, the information should aid in
determining real coverage, frequency, and requed types of analyse
for a Statewode chemical-quaity-samplmg network representative of the
differing hydrogeochemical environments in Florida. This map report
constitutes a phase in the portrayal of inorgamc chemical quality
information for Floda on a regional bass.
AREA PATTERNS OF CHEMICAL QUALITY
DURING LOW STREAMFLOW
Broad areas in onda within which water in most of the streams are
of imdwlar chemical type during low flow are delineated on the large
map. In this report the streams are divided into five chemical types,
bated on predominant cations and anons expreed a mihequlivents
per liter. As discussed by Hem (1970), a classification of this nature is
designed to convey general information and cannot be expected to be
- exact or precise. However, the classification provides a basis for the
grouping of waters closely related chemically.
Once low-flow chemical type is estahhshed, it is possible to discuss
environmental influences and emanations n water quality wIth flow and.
thus, delop an understanding o ome of the dynamic aspects of
inoranic surface water quality in Florida.
The analysis used in this report are of water samples collected from
1940 through 1967. Exammaton of long-term chemical data for
selected streams indicates no significant changes in water-quality
characteristic. Low flow, as defined herein, refers to the lower 25
percent of flow based on the flow-duraton data of Heath and Wimberly
A water-qualty diagram portraying the prevalent chemical type of
water dunng low flow rm selected Flonrida streams and canals is gvn mI
figure I. Low-flow chemical analyses are plotted as percentages of
indicated tons expressed in mlliequvalents pr liter. This figure
dlursteaes the baus loin tho heb icalmtyping und in this report and
provides a means of mindicating (Il smilanties and differences in the
composition of various waters and (2) mixtures of specific chemical
types. As noted earlier, delineation of the five chemical types is based
on predommant cations and antons, recoganizing, howeer, that
chemical types are gradatlonal and classifications and boundary
placements are somewhat arhtntry.
The five chemical types we described in terms of the dommant
cations and anions, as follows (A) calcium and magnesium bicarbonate
type. (B) sodium bicarbonate and chloride type (C) mixed type, -no
dominant cation or anmon, (D) sodium chloride type, and (E) calcium
and magnesium sulfate type.
For this report, more than 350 low-flow chemical analyses
supplemented by knowledge of the surficial geology (Vernon and Pun,
1964), drainage basm divides, areas of sgmficant ground-water flow,
and areas of waste loading, were utilized in preparation of the large map
and in the delineation of boundaries. The regional distrbution patterns
and placement of boundaries separatng areas where water is of
different chemical type are of nece..ty generaliLzed. Thedafferencesin
prevalent chemical type at low flow we related to environmental
RELATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES
TO CHEMICAL TYPE
A water-quality diagram portraying the chemical composition of
water repreentative of seorral natural and manmade sources
influencmg chemical quality of water in Florida's streams s illustrated
in figure 2. limits are established from chemical analysis of water from
specific source environments. Sources illustrated m figure 2 include
fresh water from the Florida and Biscayne carbonate aquifers (1);
paper-mill effluent (II), municipal effluent (tl); saline water from the
Flondan aquifer (IV), phosphate industrial effluent, agricultural runoff.
and water rom gypsiferous aquifers (V); and bulk precipitation
(rainfall plus dry fallout) at Ocala (VI). The precipitation composition
represents that of the central florida kaust region and should not be
extended arbitrarily to other parts of the State.
The prevalent chemical type of water during low flow (as portrayed
on the large map and i figure 1) may thus be related to the chemical
composition of end-member sources or mixtures of water from several
As noted by Stnngfield (1964). surface water and ground water are
closely interrelated in parts of Florida. The quality of surface water is
influenced by the quality of ground water where the aquifers are at or
near the land surface, where the sampled Ites are downstream from
first- and second-magnitude springs (large map, locations after Ferguson
and others, 1947) or where streams are influenced by upward
ground-water movement along fractures and fault-controlled spring
lnes. A first magnitude spring has an average flow ot 100 cubc feet per
second or more, a second-magntude spring has an average flow of 10 to
f100ll cubic feet per second. The chemical character of water min many
streams m Iflonda during low flow approaches that of water m the
contrithutmig aquifers, ol waste discharged to streams, or a combination
Relernng o the large map. water that is dommantly of the calcium
and magnesium bicarbonate type (A) is associated with (1) Tertiary
(Eocene through Mocene) carbonatete terranes constituting the Flondan
aquifer in central, north-central, and northwest Florida, (2) late
Teriary (upper Miocene) Quaternary carbonate terranes constituting
the Biscayne and shallow aquifers in south Florda, and (3) frst- and
second-magnitude spngs having calcium and magnesium bicarbonate
type waters deemed from the Flondan aquifer. The water is generally
alkaline and is moderate to high in mineralization and hardness.
Water that is dominantly of the sodium bicarbonate sod chorlde
type (B) is o small real extent and in several places contains paper-mill
effluents. lhi water is generally alkaline, soft, and high tm
mineralateon, color, and organic matter. Some soft natural sodium
bicarbonate and chlonde water, low tom mineralization and color, ocurs
in the western Panhandle and in a stmal area of central peinsula
Water comtarmg no predominant ation or amon is considered to be
a mixed typ (C). Water of this type is associated with noncarbonate
tennes and is generally upstream from springs and alkaline
ground-wate inflow. With some exceptions, this water reflects the
chemical chaactenstics of rainfall, sods, and dcomposed orgamc
matterin natural swampland areas. In several areas, including parts of
southat Florida, the water s associated with municipal waste hgh in
mmneraloatmn, and may contain high concentration of chloride,
sulfate, and utratre. Water of this type may also reoit fromthe mi g
of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate water and sodium chlorde
Water that is dominantly of the sodium chloride type (D) and also
relatiely highly mmeralzed is associated with (I) aine water in the
low-lying coastal areas of tidal and estuanne environments (2) salmne
water that hs moved upward from the Flondan aquiferalong fracture
and/or fault traces (note on large map the northwest-trendmg spring
Ime that paallels the St. Johns River in east central Flonda, with
several sprgs having sodium chloride water), and (3) agricultural
rnoff and indusmal and municipaleffluents.
Sodium chlornde type water that is low in mmeralatron is associated
with upland swamp areas, and it also occurs im the western Florida
Panhandle. Water in the Panhandle streams generally contains a
relatively high percentage of sthca, which in several places constitutes
more than 40 percent of the dissolved solids.
Water that is dominantly of the calcium and magnesium sulfate type
(E) is associated in several places with industal effluents and
agricultural runoff. The industral wastes are generally highly
mineralzed, acidic, and contain a high concentration of phosphate,
sulfate, fluoride, and mntrate. The Alafia and Peace Rivers, which dramn
phosphate mamng aeas m west-central peninsular Florda, are prime
examples. In addition, in water from several Florda streams the
percentage of magnesium and sulfate exceeds that of a straight-line
mctues of ground water from a lfnestone terrane and sea water. Th.
magnesium and sulfate water may be denied from agricultural runoff,
or it may result from discharge from gypsiferous aquifer.
1 y A V -~
1964 Reoarton of surface -water hydrology to the pnncipal
artesran aquifer n Florida and southSeatern Georgia U.S.
Geol. Survey Prof. Paper 501-C, pp. 164-169.
U.S. Geological Survey
Quahty of Surface waters of the US. 194Oo63 U.S. Geol.
Survey Water Supply Papers 942, 950, 970, 1022, 1030,
1050. 1132, 1162, 1186, 1197, 1250, 1290, 1350, 1400,
1450, 1520, 1571. 1641, 1741. 1881, 1941, 1947.
Water Resources Data for Florida, Part 2. Water Quality
Records 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Tallahassee, Florida,
Water Resources Dnt.
1964 (and Pun, H.S.) Geologic map of Florida Flonda Dv.
Geol. Map Series No. 18.
If Calllum andl l ienui Buabrbonte
| | Sodium 'Chlrirde
a* Sra and oanl o
Low-now chemi ynysx t '
o it .9' r yn
Ii 0r'' In XW\,'
CHANGES IN CHEMICAL QUALITY ACCOMPANYING
CHANGES IN STREAMFLOW
Changes n chemical character of water from selected Florida streams
and canals, as represented by high versus low flow chemical analyses,
are presented tm figures 3 and 4. In general, concentration decreases as
streamflow mcreases. The individual analyses shown in figure 3 are
considered to be representative of general and high-low flow conditions
at the sampling site, on the basis of a detailed survey of data for
1940-67. These analyses reflect extreme chemical-qualihty conditions.
Analogous to the definition of low flow given earher, high flow refers
to the upper 25 percent of flow based on the flow-duration data of
Heath and Wimberly (1971).
As the flow increases from low to high, two drstmct changes in onic
composition occur (fig. 3). These changes depend prmanly on the
chemical character of water during low flow and secondarily on the
chemical character of surface runoff.
(1) Water in teams and canals of type "A", "B", and some mixed
type "C" at low flow exhibits an increased percentage of "salinity" (it
increases in percentage of dissolved ions such as sodium, magnesium,
sulfate, and chloride) at high flow (fig. 3A).
(2) Water in streams and canals of type "D", "E", and locally of
mixed type "C" at low flow exhibits an mcreased percentage of
"alkalinity" (It increases m percentage of dissolved ions such as
calcium, sodium, and bicarbonate) at high flow (fig. 3B).
The difference in composition between the high and low-flow
samples indicates that the drect-rnoff fraction is quite different in
chemical type from the base-flow fraction. The chemical response to
increat in trr mflow i indirectly a function of environmental
influences governing the chemical nature o othe water during low-flow
discussed eaer. Water representative of the first group (lypes "A",
"B" and in part, "C") generally has low to moderate mmneraliation at
low flow (relatively high percentage of bcarbonate) and, with some
exceptions, reflects natural conditions. Water of the second group
(types "D". "E", and. In part, "C") generally has moderate to high
meraloaton at low flow (relatively high percentage o uflbate and
chloride) and. with some exceptions, reflects the influences of man.
fI'urther, im much of Florida, maximum and mimmum concentrations
o dieolvNed sohds water at a specific aton in a stream often differ
widely, reflecting extreme differences m chemical quality during high
and low -treamflow. Figure 4 portrays the relations among chemical
ompostion, oncentration and dichaige for selected Flonda streams
and canals representative of some of the different chemical types and
envoonmental conditions. The tlgure dlustrates the ranges and
varability in chemical compsition that may be expe-ted. The water
sample from the Apalachicola River at Chattlaooche uididcate relative
stability o! chemical quality from low to high flow, whreas waier
samples rom the Suwannee River near Brantford indicate relative
Instabithty of chemical quality from Iow to high flow. The caton-anion
imbalances Indicated by the bhagraphs ae caused by unplotted minor
concentrating of potassium nitrate, fluoride, or phosphate.
1947 (and Lmgham, C.W., Love. S.K.. and Vernon. R.O.)
Spnngs of Florida Florida Geol. Survey Bull. 31, 196 pp.
1971 (and Wimberfy. F.T.) Selected flow choracterstics of
Florida streams and canals I-Forda Bur. Geol. Inf. Crc.
69, 595 pp.
1970 Study and interpretation of th chemical characeisticsof
natural water (second edition) U.S. Geol. Survey
Water-Supply Paper 1473, 363 pp.
1962 Stream composition of the conterminous Umted States
U.S. Geol. Survey, Hydrologic Invest. Atlas HA-61.
Figure Prevalent chemical type of water dunng low-flow in selected
Slonda streams and canals.
berth narea hutt- e I lonoarn and tiscayne
II Paperml effluent.
i]1 Mnipal effluent.
IV San water from the Fiondan aquder.
VI Median chemitw ofa bulk prepi;tatbon, Ocda
Florda, 1965 178 uncovered ampi).
* 4 ruwruLaece
V -~ ... L).
Figure 4. Relations among chemical composition, concentration, and
discharge for six Florida streams and canals during low versus high
Figure 3. Changes in chemical character of water from selected Florida streams
and canals, as represented by high- or low-flow chemical analyses.
Figure 2. Water representatie of several natural and manmade sources
influencing chemical qualty of streamflow in Florida.
MAP SERIES NO. 51
Department of Natural Resources
Bureau of Geology PREVALENT CHEMICAL TYPE OF WATER
IN FLORIDA STREAMS AND CANALS
This public document was promulgated at DURING LOW FLOW
a cost of $1402.50 or a per copy cost of
$0.93 for the purpose of disseminating
water resource data. J Calcium and Magnesium
SA- .. .. ,- ..inate and Chloride
C ,l. r.C a-3 Magnesium Sulfate
a _NYcE. OR IRSI N E,"NL M ; r. NITUDE SPRINGS
1_. a 1 r. d Magnesium
a l t..: f i. drt.a., ldi
f 43.Ut als ... a0J M ~gesium Sulfate
N A 0"
__ ______GEOLOGICAL SURVEYI
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