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Effect of Niagara power project on ground-water flow in the upper part of the Lockport Dolomite, Niagara Falls area, New York

Water-Resources Investigations Report 86-4130

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Abstract

The Niagara River Power Project near Niagara Falls, N.Y., has created recharge and discharge areas that have modified the direction of groundwater flow east and northeast of the falls. Before construction of the power project in 1962, the configuration of the potentiometric surface in the upper part of the Silurian Lockport Dolomite generally paralleled the buried upper surface of the bedrock. Ground water in the central and east parts of the city of Niagara Falls flowed south and southwestward toward the upper Niagara River (above the falls), and ground water in the western part flowed westward into Niagara River gorge. The power project consists of two hydroelectric powerplants separated by a forebay canal that receives water from the upper Niagara River through two 4-mi-long, parallel, buried conduits. During periods of nonpeak power demand, some water in the forebay canal is pumped to a storage reservoir for later release to generate electricity during peak-demand periods. Since the power project began operation in 1962, groundwater within 0.5 mi of the buried conduits has seeped into the drain system that surrounds the conduits, then flows both south from the forebay canal and north from the Niagara River toward the Falls Street tunnel--a former sewer that crosses the conduits 0.65 mi north of the upper Niagara River. Approximately 6 million gallons of ground water a day leaks into the Falls Street tunnel, which carries it 2.3 mi westward to the Niagara River gorge below the falls. Daily water-level fluctuations in the forebay canal affect water levels in the drain system that surrounds the conduits, and this , in turn, affects the potentiometric surface in the Lockport Dolomite within 0.5 mi of the conduits. The drains transmit changes in pressure head near the forebay canal southward at least as far as the Falls Street tunnel area and possibly to the upper Niagara River. Some water in the pumped-storage reservoir recharges ground water in the Lockport Dolomite by seepage through bedding joints, which are exposed in the unlined reservoir bottom, and through the grout curtain beneath the reservoir 's dike. Water-level fluctuations in the reservoir cause slight ground-water fluctuations near the reservoir. (Author 's abstract)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effect of Niagara power project on ground-water flow in the upper part of the Lockport Dolomite, Niagara Falls area, New York
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
86-4130
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1987
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
vi, 31 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.