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Development and testing of a contamination potential mapping system for a portion of the General Separations Area, Savannah River Site, South Carolina

Environmental Geology

By:
, , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1007/s002540050313

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Abstract

A methodology was developed to evaluate and map the contamination potential or aquifer sensitivity of the upper groundwater flow system of a portion of the General Separations Area (GSA) at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to integrate diverse subsurface geologic data, soils data, and hydrology utilizing a stack-unit mapping approach to construct mapping layers. This is the first time that such an approach has been used to delineate the hydrogeology of a coastal plain environment. Unit surface elevation maps were constructed for the tops of six Tertiary units derived from over 200 boring logs. Thickness or isopach maps were created for five hydrogeologic units by differencing top and basal surface elevations. The geologic stack-unit map was created by stacking the five isopach maps and adding codes for each stack-unit polygon. Stacked-units were rated according to their hydrogeologic properties and ranked using a logarithmic approach (utility theory) to establish a contamination potential index. Colors were assigned to help display relative importance of stacked-units in preventing or promoting transport of contaminants. The sensitivity assessment included the effects of surface soils on contaminants which are particularly important for evaluating potential effects from surface spills. Hydrogeologic/hydrologic factors did not exhibit sufficient spatial variation to warrant incorporation into contamination potential assessment. Development of this contamination potential mapping system provides a useful tool for site planners, environmental scientists, and regulatory agencies.A methodology was developed to evaluate and map the contamination potential or aquifer sensitivity of the upper groundwater flow system of a portion of the General Separations Area (GSA) at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. A Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to integrate diverse subsurface geologic data, soils data, and hydrology utilizing a stack-unit mapping approach to construct mapping layers. This is the first time that such an approach has been used to delineate the hydrogeology of a coastal plain environment. Unit surface elevation maps were constructed for the tops of six Tertiary units derived from over 200 boring logs. Thickness or isopach maps were created for five hydrogeologic units by differencing top and basal surface elevations. The geologic stack-unit map was created by stacking the five isopach maps and adding codes for each stack-unit polygon. Stacked-units were rated according to their hydrogeologic properties and ranked using a logarithmic approach (utility theory) to establish a contamination potential index. Colors were assigned to help display relative importance of stacked-units in preventing or promoting transport of contaminants. The sensitivity assessment included the effects of surface soils on contaminants which are particularly important for evaluating potential effects from surface spills. Hydrogeologic/hydrologic factors did not exhibit sufficient spatial variation to warrant incorporation into contamination potential assessment. Development of this contamination potential mapping system provides a useful tool for site planners, environmental scientists, and regulatory agencies.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Development and testing of a contamination potential mapping system for a portion of the General Separations Area, Savannah River Site, South Carolina
Series title:
Environmental Geology
DOI:
10.1007/s002540050313
Volume
35
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer-Verlag GmbH & Company KG
Publisher location:
Berlin, Germany
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Geology
First page:
263
Last page:
277
Number of Pages:
15