Geohydrology and conceptual model of a ground-water-flow system near a Superfund site in Cheshire, Connecticut

Open-File Report 96-162

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Degradation of ground-water quality has been identified in an area of the north-central part of the town of Cheshire, Connecticut. An investigation by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was done during 1994-95 to characterize the unconsolidated glacial deposits and the sedimentary bedrock, integrate the local geohydrologic conditions with the regional geohydrologic system, and develop a conceptual understanding of ground-water flow in the study area. A regional ground-water-flow model developed for the region near the study area indicates that perennial streams, including Judd Brook and the Tenmile River, form hydrologic divides that separate the larger region into hydraulically independent flow systems. In the local study area, synoptic water-level measurements made in June 1995 indicate that ground water near the water table flows west and southwestward from the low hill on the eastern side of the area toward the pond and wetlands along Judd Brook. Water-level data indicate that there is good hydraulic connection between the unconsolidated materials and underlying fractured bedrock. Unconsolidated materials in the study area consist principally of glacial stratified deposits that are fine sand, silt, and clay of glaci- olacustrine origin; locally these overlie thin glacial till. The glacial sediments range in thickness from a few feet to about 25 ft in the eastern part of the study area and are as much as 100 ft thick in the western and southern part of the study area beneath the Judd Brook and Tenmile River valleys. Fluvial redbeds of the New Haven Arkose underlie the glacial deposits in the region; in the study area, the redbeds consist of (1) channel sandstone units, which are coarse sandstone to fine conglomerate, generally in 6- to 15-ft- thick sequences; and (2) overbank mudstone units, which are siltstone and silty sandstone with some fine sandstone, generally in 6- to 50-ft-thick sequences. Thin-bedded zones of siltstone that are particularly fissile are present locally within the mudstone units. Rock units strike northward and dip eastward at about 20. The eastward-dipping strata are cut by a consistent set of west to west-northwest dipping, high-angle fractures. These fractures are oriented perpendicular to bedding and are present mostly in the channel sandstone units, but locally extend into the mudstone units as well. Borehole-geophysical logging indicates that ground water flows along bedding planes in fissile zones and between fissile zones in high-angle fractures, which are perpendicular to bedding. The combined fracture types form an aquifer system in which ground water follows a stair-step flowpath, flowing horizontally through fissile zones and vertically through high-angle fractures. Heat-pulse flow meter measurements and borehole fluid-conductivity and temperature logs indicate that only a small subset of the fissile zones and some high-angle fractures are hydraulically significant. A generalized local-scale ground-water flow model based on a nonspecific, but realistic, rock and fracture geometry was developed for the study area. Simulations show that under nonpumping conditions at a hypothetical well located in the middle of the model, ground-water flow was separated into upper and lower zones in which flow paths differed but were generally from northeast to southwest. Several short-duration aquifer tests conducted in the study area indicate that there is good hydraulic connection in the fractures between the pumping well (CS-221) and two bedrock wells located approximately 100 ft to the north and south along bedding strike. During the short duration of the aquifer tests, there was no hydraulic connection in bedrock wells located to the east, perpendicular to the strike. A range of transmissivity of 27 to 46 ft2/d was calculated from the aquifer-test data for the fractured-bedrock aquifer at CS-221 and TH-2. Individual fracture zones identified by bo

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Geohydrology and conceptual model of a ground-water-flow system near a Superfund site in Cheshire, Connecticut
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
vi, 88 p. :ill. (some col.) ;28 cm.