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Hydrogeology, water quality, and water-supply potential of the Lower Floridan Aquifer, coastal Georgia, 1999-2002

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5124

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Abstract

The hydrogeology and water quality of the upper permeable and Fernandina permeable zones of the Lower Floridan aquifer were studied at seven sites in the 24-county study area encompassed by the Georgia Coastal Sound Science Initiative. Although substantially less than the Upper Floridan aquifer in coastal Georgia, transmissivities for the Lower Floridan aquifer are in the same range as other water-supply aquifers in Georgia and South Carolina and could meet the needs of public drinking-water supply. Water of the upper permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer exceeds the Federal secondary drinking-water standards for sulfate and total dissolved solids at most coastal Georgia sites and the Federal secondary drinking-water standard for chloride at the Shellman Bluff site. The top of the Lower Floridan aquifer correlates within 50 feet of the previously reported top, except at the St Simons Island site where the top is more than 80 feet higher. Based on the hydrogeologic characteristics, the seven sites are divided into the northern sites at Shellman Bluff, Richmond Hill, Pembroke, and Pineora; and southern sites at St Marys, Brunswick, and St Simons Island. At the northern sites, the Lower Floridan aquifer does not include the Fernandina permeable zone, is thinner than the overlying Upper Floridan aquifer, and consists of only strata of the middle Eocene Avon Park Formation. Transmissivities in the Lower Floridan aquifer are 8,300 feet squared per day at Richmond Hill and 6,000 feet squared per day at Shellman Bluff, generally one tenth the transmissivity of the Upper Floridan aquifer at these sites. At the southern sites, the upper permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer is thicker than the Upper Floridan aquifer and consists of porous limestone and dolomite interbedded with nonporous strata of the middle Eocene Avon Park and early Eocene Oldsmar Formations. Transmissivities for the upper permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer are 500 feet squared per day at the St Simons Island site and 13,000 feet squared per day at the St Marys site. The Lower Floridan aquifer at the Brunswick and St Marys sites includes the Fernandina permeable zone, which consists of saltwater-bearing dolomite. Hydrographs of Coastal Sound Science Initiative wells and other nearby wells open to the Upper Floridan aquifer, and the upper permeable and Fernandina permeable zones of the Lower Floridan aquifer have similar trends. Water levels in wells open to the Upper and Lower Floridan aquifers are below land surface at the northern sites and the St Simons Island site, and above land surface at the Brunswick and St Marys sites, as of January 1, 2004. Freshwater is present in the Lower Floridan aquifer at Pineora, Pembroke, and St Marys, and from 1,259 to 1,648 feet below land surface at Brunswick. Slightly saline water is present in the Lower Floridan aquifer at Richmond Hill, Shellman Bluff, St Simons Island, and from 1,679 to 1,970 feet below land surface in well 34H495 at Brunswick. The upper permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer contains bicarbonate water at the Pembroke site, sulfate-bicarbonate water at the Brunswick site, and sulfate water at the St Simons Island, Shellman Bluff, St Marys, and Richmond Hill sites. The bicarbonate, sulfate-bicarbonate, and sulfate waters are saturated relative to calcite and dolomite, and undersaturated with gypsum and anhydrite. The Fernandina permeable zone in well 34H495 includes moderately saline water, very saline water, and brine. The Fernandina permeable zone of the Lower Floridan aquifer beneath downtown Brunswick contains chloride water that is slightly undersaturated to saturated with gypsum and anhydrite. Concentrations of total dissolved solids, sulfate, and chloride exceeded the Federal secondary drinking-water standards. The chloride-contaminated plumes beneath downtown Brunswick would require at least a 12- to 20-percent contribution of very saline water from the Fernandi

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrogeology, water quality, and water-supply potential of the Lower Floridan Aquifer, coastal Georgia, 1999-2002
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2005-5124
Edition:
Online only
Year Published:
2005
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
98 p.; 1 plate
Online Only (Y/N):
Y