, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 913-920
Date: 21 Aug 2007

Groundwater sensitivity mapping in Kentucky using GIS and digitally vectorized geologic quadrangles

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Groundwater sensitivity (Ray and O’dell in Environ Geol 22:345–352, 1993a) refers to the inherent ease with which groundwater can be contaminated based on hydrogeologic characteristics. We have developed digital methods for identifying areas of varying groundwater sensitivity for a ten county area of south central Kentucky at a scale of 1:100,000. The study area includes extensive limestone karst sinkhole plains, with groundwater extremely sensitive to contamination. Digitally vectorized geologic quadrangles (DVGQs) were combined with elevation data to identify both hydrogeologic groundwater sensitivity regions and zones of “high risk runoff” where contaminants could be transported in runoff from less sensitive to higher sensitivity (particularly karst) areas. While future work will fine-tune these maps with additional layers of data (soils for example) as digital data have become available, using DVGQs allows a relatively rapid assessment of groundwater sensitivity for Kentucky at a more useful scale than previously available assessment methods, such as DRASTIC and DIVERSITY.