Hydrogeology and groundwater quality of the glaciated valleys of Bradford, Tioga, and Potter Counties, Pennsylvania

Water Resource Report 68

Prepared by the United States Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Geological Survey
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The most important sources of groundwater in Bradford, Tioga, and Potter Counties are the stratified-drift aquifers. Saturated sand and gravel primarily of outwash origin forms extensive unconfined aquifers in the valleys. Outwash is underlain in most major valleys by silt, clay, and very fine sand of lacustrine origin that comprise extensive confining units. The lacustrine confining units locally exceed 100 feet in thickness. Confined aquifers of ice-contact sand and gravel are buried locally beneath the lacustrine deposits. Bedrock and till are the basal confining units of the stratifies-drift aquifer systems. Recharge to the stratified-drift aquifers if by direct infiltration of precipitation, tributary-stream infiltration, infiltration of unchanneled runoff at the valley walls, and groundwater inflow from the bedrock and till uplands. Valley areas underlain by superficial sand and gravel contribute about 1 million gallons per day per square mile of water from precipitation to the aquifers. Tributary streams provide recharge of nearly 590 gallons per day per foot of stream reach. Water is added at the rate of 1 million gallons per day per square mile of bordering uplands not drained by tributary streams to the stratified-drift aquifers from unchanneled runoff and groundwater inflow. Induced infiltration can be a major source of recharge to well fields completed in unconfined stratified-drift aquifers that are in good hydraulic connection with surface water. The well fields of an industrial site in North Towanda, a public-water supplier at Tioga Point, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Asaph accounted for 75 percent of the 10.8 million gallons per day pf groundwater withdrawn by public suppliers and other selected users in 1985. The well fields tap stratified-drift aquifers that are substantially recharged by induced infiltration or tributary-stream infiltration. Specific-capacity data from 95 wells indicate that most wells completed in stratified-drift aquifers have specific capacities an order of magnitude greater than those completed in till and bedrock, Wells completed in unconfined stratified-drift aquifers and in bedrock aquifers have the highest and lowest median specific capacities -- 24 and 0.80 gallons per minute per foot of drawdown, respectively. Wells completed in confined stratified-drift aquifers and in till have median specific capacties of 11 and 0.87 gallons per minute per foot of drawdown, respectively. The results of 223 groundwater-quality analyses indicate two major hydrogeochemical zones: (1) a zone of unrestricted groundwater flow that contains water of the calcium bicarbonate type (this zone is found in almost all of the stratified-drift aquifers, till, and shallow bedrock systems); and (2) a zone of restricted groundwater slow that contains water of the sodium chloride type (this zone is found in the bedrock, and, in some areas, in till and confined stratified-drift aquifers). Samples pumped from wells that penetrate restricted-flow zones have median concentrations of total dissolved solids, dissolved chloride, and dissolved barium of 840 and 350 milligrams per liter, and 2,100 micrograms per liter, respectively. Excessive concentrations of iron and manganese are common in the groundwater of the study area; about 50 percent of the wells sampled contain water that has iron and manganese concentrations that exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secondary maximum contaminant levels of 300 and 50 micrograms per liter, respectively. Only water in the unconfined stratified-drift aquifers and the Catskill Formation has median concentrations lower than these limits.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
State/Local Government Series
Hydrogeology and groundwater quality of the glaciated valleys of Bradford, Tioga, and Potter Counties, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water Resource Report
Series number:
Year Published:
Pennsylvania Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Harrisburg, PA
v, 89 p.
United States
Bradford County;Potter County;Tioga County