Ground-water flow in the lower sand unit of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system in Philadelphia was simulated with a two-dimensional finite- difference ground-water model. The modeled 133-square-mile area also included parts of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Camden and Gloucester Counties, New Jersey. The lower sand unit is Cretaceous in age and consists of well- sorted coarse sand and fine gravel that grades upward into medium to fine sand containing a few thin beds of clay. The modeled aquifer consists of the lower sand unit in Philadelphia and the lowermost sand unit of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system in New Jersey. Throughout most of the area, the lower sand unit is overlain by a clay confining unit. Where the clay is absent, the lower sand unit is unconfined. A hydraulic conductivity of 1.6 x 10-3 foot per second and a storage coefficient of 3.0 x 10-4 was assigned to the lower sand unit based on 15 aquifer tests, and a hydraulic conductivity of 4.0 x 10-8 foot per second was assigned to the upper confining unit based on transient-flow sensitivity analysis. Water levels were not sensitive to changes in the value for specific storage of the upper confining unit, indicating that most vertical leakage occurs as steady leakage. Changes in the potentiometric surface of the lower sand unit for 1904-78 simulated. Differences between simulated and observed head generally were less than 10 feet.
Simulations were made to determine the effects on hydraulic head of increases in industrial pumpage of 5 and 10 Mgal/d (million gallons per day) and of an emergency 60 Mgal/d municipal water supply in Philadelphia. A 5- and 10-Mgal/d increase in industrial pumpage would lower heads in the lower sand unit by as much as 33 and 66 feet, respectively. Pumping 60 Mgal/d for 30 days for an emergency municipal supply would lower heads in the lower sand unit by as much as 121 feet.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of ground-water flow in the lower sand unit of the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania