During the past few decades, several municipalities in northeastern Illinois have noted increases in the salinity of water from wells that tap aquifers in rocks of Cambrian and Ordovician age. The municipalities have discontinued the use of, or sealed-off sections of, those wells. The aquifers involved include the Ancell, the Ironton-Galesville, and the Elmhurst-Mt. Simon.
To define the location, magnitude, and possible causes for the salinity increases in the six northeastern counties of Illinois, 17 municipal wells and 1 deep test well were selected on the basis of their proximity to major pumping centers, the availability of water-quality data, and their documented maintenance history. Well depths ranged from about 960 to 3,475 feet. One well was finished in the middle confining unit, 2 wells were finished in the Ironton-Galesville aquifer, 4 wells were finished in the Eau Claire confining unit, and 10 wells were finished in the Elmhurst-Mt. Simon aquifer. The deep test well was finished below the Elmhurst-Mt. Simon aquifer in Precambrian-age rock.
Chloride concentrations in the municipal wells ranged from less than 5 to greater than 600 milligrams per liter; in the deep test well, they ranged from 13 t o 37,000 milligrams per liter. Some changes in the chloride concentration in water from the studied municipal wells can be related to physical changes to the wells, including the partial filling in of a well, bridging within a well, the cleaning out of a well, or the deepening of a well. Some changes in chloride concentration are not related to physical changes but may be caused by increased pumpage; changes in pumping rate, frequency, or duration; cessation of pumping; improper abandonment of wells; and the upconing of highly mineralized water. The data base was inadequate for a quantitative study of the changes in chloride concentration in water from individual aquifers in rocks of Cambrian and Ordovician age.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Changes in chloride concentration in water from municipal wells that tap aquifers in rocks of Cambrian and Ordovician age in northeastern Illinois, 1915-84
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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