The stated goals of the Observation Well Network, consistent with the Water Resources Initiative which was adopted by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in 2005, are as follows:


Monitor impact of drought on groundwater levels across the county, i.e., to work as an "early warning system" and permit monitoring of groundwater quantity county-wide.

Delineation of Groundwater Base Flow

Conduct further delineation of groundwater base flow, which is the contribution of groundwater to streams. This would provide useful information regarding the amount of groundwater which feeds surface water reservoirs in the county.

Further Research

Enable further research into groundwater quality issues, including elevated radon and arsenic concentrations detected in groundwater during previous investigations in the county. Elevated radon concentrations were detected by Cunningham and Daniel in their 2001 report entitled Investigation of Ground-Water Availability and Quality in Orange County, North Carolina. 

This report documented radon activity in groundwater ranging from 38 to 4,462 pico Curies per liter (pCi/L), and a median groundwater concentration of 405 pCi/L in Orange County. The proposed Federal MCL (maximum contaminant level) for radon is 300 pCi/L if no statewide or local EPA approved multimedia mitigation program exists, with an alternative proposed MCL of 4,000 pCi/L if an approved multimedia mitigation program is in place. The 2001 report of Cunningham and Daniel also identified some correlation between bedrock lithology and radon concentration.