The DEQ collects data on ground water levels at 192 wells and the U.S. Geological Survey collects data on ground water levels at 218 wells, with periodic water quality samples taken at 19 of those wells. Sixty-six of the wells in the DEQ/USGS observation well network have been converted to real time monitoring with measurements captured once every 15 minutes and uploaded to the internet using satellite technology.
Water level data from Data for 357 of the wells in the DEQ/USGS observation well network are published in Water Resources Data, Virginia, Volume 2: Ground water and ground-water-quality records which is cooperatively prepared annually by the DEQ and the USGS. The information provided by the research stations is important for monitoring drought conditions, determining when ground-water recharge actually occurs, and monitoring the effects of ground water withdrawal. Additionally, the ground water level data collected cooperatively by the DEQ and USGS contributes to a long-term Coastal Plain ground water modeling project. Figure 6 illustrates the current coverage of all water level observation wells maintained by DEQ and USGS throughout Virginia.
If these stations were distributed evenly throughout Virginia, there would be a density of one (1) monitoring station for every 701 miles² of the state. Most, however, are located in the coastal plain region of eastern Virginia (45 out of 61). Eight (8) real-time research stations are located in the Piedmont and eight (8) are currently located west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Considerable effort is underway to establish a higher density of real-time monitoring wells west of I-95. The Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Ground Water Characterization Program was recently allotted a limited amount of funds to be used in the expansion of Virginia's real-time state observation network (SOW) that is operated in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey Virginia Water Science Center.
In fiscal year 2007, DEQ-OGWC staff established new real-time SOWs in the counties of Bath, Brunswick, Fauquier, Nottoway, and Shenandoah. In order to extend the limited funds available to the SOW expansion project, OGWC has attempted to work cooperatively with localities to identify and use existing wells no longer in use by the well-owner. If you are an owner of an unused well, please contact us before abandonment, we may be able to use it in the observation well network.