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Aquifer tests and simulation of ground-water flow in Triassic sedimentary rocks near Colmar, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4159

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Abstract

This report presents the results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate ground-water flow in Triassic sedimentary rocks near Colmar, in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pa. The study was conducted to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluate remediation alternatives at the North Penn Area 5 Superfund Site near Colmar, where ground water has been contaminated by volatile organic solvents (primarily trichloroethene). The investigation focused on determining the (1) drawdown caused by separately pumping North PennWater Authority wells NP?21 and NP?87, (2) probable paths of groundwater movement under present-day (2000) conditions (with NP?21 discontinued), and (3) areas contributing recharge to wells if pumping from wells NP-21 or NP?87 were restarted and new recovery wells were installed. Drawdown was calculated from water levels measured in observation wells during aquifer tests of NP?21 and NP?87. The direction of ground-water flow was estimated by use of a three-dimensional ground-water-flow model. Aquifer tests were conducted by pumping NP?21 for about 7 days at 257 gallons per minute in June 2000 and NP?87 for 3 days at 402 gallons per minute in May 2002. Drawdown was measured in 45 observation wells during the NP?21 test and 35 observation wells during the NP?87 test. Drawdown in observation wells ranged from 0 to 6.8 feet at the end of the NP?21 test and 0.5 to 12 feet at the end of the NP?87 test. The aquifer tests showed that ground-water levels declined mostly in observation wells that were completed in the geologic units penetrated by the pumped wells. Because the geologic units dip about 27 degrees to the northwest, shallow wells up dip to the southeast of the pumped well showed a good hydraulic connection to the geologic units stressed by pumping. Most observation wells down dip from the pumping well penetrated units higher in the stratigraphic section that were not well connected to the units stressed by pumping. The best hydraulic connection to the pumped wells was indicated by large drawdown in observation wells that penetrate the water-bearing unit encountered below 400 feet below land surface in wells NP?21 and NP?87. The hydraulic connection between wells NP?21 (or NP?87) and observation wells in the southern area of ground-water contamination near the BAE Systems facility is good because the observation wells probably penetrate this water-bearing unit. A 3-dimensional, finite-difference, groundwater- flow model was used to simulate flow paths and areas contributing recharge to wells for current (2000) conditions of pumping in the Colmar area and for hypothetical situations of pumping suggested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that might be used for remediation. Simulations indicate that under current conditions, ground water in the northern area of contamination near the former Stabilus facility moves to the northwest and discharges mostly to West Branch Neshaminy Creek; in the southern area of contamination near BAE Systems facility, ground water probably moves west and discharges to a tributary ofWest Branch Neshaminy Creek near well NP?21. Model simulations indicate that if NP?21 or NP?87 are pumped at 400 gallons per minute, groundwater recharge is likely captured from the southern area of contamination, but ground-water recharge from the northern area of contamination is less likely to be captured by the pumping. Simulations also indicate that pumping of a new recovery well near BAE Systems facility at 8 gallons per minute and two new recovery wells near the former Stabilus facility at a total of about 30 gallons per minute probably would capture most of the ground-water recharge in the areas where contamination is greatest.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Aquifer tests and simulation of ground-water flow in Triassic sedimentary rocks near Colmar, Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
2003-4159
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2003
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
viii, 73 p. : ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ; 28 cm.