A valley-fill aquifer system that extends along a 14-mile reach of the Susquehanna River valley in southwestern Broome County, N.Y., is a major source of water supply to local municipalities and industries, but is highly susceptible to contamination from human activities. Protection of ground-water supplies requires accurate delineation of the areas that are the sources of water pumped by wells. A previously developed two-layer steady-state ground-water flow model of the aquifer system was upgraded with an improved method of simulating stream-aquifer interactions, then recalibrated and coupled to a particle-tracking program. Three-dimensional, ground-water flow modeling coupled with particle tracking is the most reliable method of simulating groundwater flow paths in multiaquifer systems such as this; it also allows delineation of contributing areas to well.elds. A primary advantage of three-dimensional particle-tracking analysis is that it shows the complexities of the flow paths in each aquifer.
Model and particle tracking analyses indicate that groundwater frequently follows convoluted three-dimensional flow paths. The contributing areas of individual supply wells in this aquifer system each has a unique flow pattern and shape. Results of the model simulation indicate that recharge from precipitation, rivers, and tributaries contribute 35 percent, 29 percent, and 25 percent, respectively to the aquifer system and that pumpage from supply wells accounts for 67 percent of the discharge from the aquifer system. Particle-tracking results indicate that the simulated contributing areas to the 24 supply wells includes most of the valley floor.
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USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of a valley-fill aquifer system to delineate flow paths, contributing areas, and traveltime to wellfields in southwestern Broome County, New York