Investigation of Groundwater Quality in Unincorporated Greene County, Missouri

Date of Graduation

Fall 1980


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

David Castillon


Groundwater is a vital resource for the people of Greene County, Missouri. Maintaining a safe quality of this resource is increasingly being recognized as a problem. This is due in large part to the steady growth of this area coupled with potentially hazardous conditions that exist in the physical environment. Cavernous groundwater systems in soluable rock formations, surface drainage into sinkholes, highly permeable soils, and many karst features are common in the region. These landforms do little to filter or cleanse surface water as it is channelled into the subsurface and moves throughout underground systems. This study investigates the quality of groundwater in unincorporated Greene County by sampling water wells from single family residential dwellings utilizing septic tank waste disposal systems. The results of this project indicate that the status of groundwater quality in the study area is generally favorable. Problem areas were identified however, based upon the bacteriological contamination of water wells and the presence of nitrates in the groundwater. Both human waste (septic tanks) and agricultural waste (livestock and poultry) were indicated as being pollutants of groundwater supplies. A significant relationship was found to exist between wells drawing water from the shallow aquifers in the region and the occurrence of unsafe water wells. A significant relationship was also found to exist between soils with a rating of severe limitations for septic tank suitability and the occurrence of unsafe water wells. It is the conclusion of this research that land management and land use planning should give careful consideration to the maintenance and improvement of groundwater quality in Greene County. This can best be accomplished by the protective zoning of sensitive areas in the county and by the regulation of on-site waste disposal systems.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Bruce Allen Bush