Hydrogeology and simulation of ground-water flow at the South Well Field, Columbus, Ohio

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4279

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The City of Columbus, Ohio, operates four radial collector wells in southern Franklin County. The 'South Well Field' is completed in permeable outwash and ice-contact deposits, upon which flow the Scioto River and Big Walnut Creek. The wells are designed to yield approximately 42 million gallons per day; part of that yield results from induced infiltration of surface water from the Scioto River and Big Walnut Creek. The well field supplied up to 30 percent of the water supply of southern Columbus and its suburbs in 1991. This report describes the hydrogeology of southern Franklin County and a tran sient three-dimensional, numerical ground-water- flow model of the South Well Field. The primary source of ground water in the study area is the glacial drift aquifer. The glacial drift is composed of sand, gravel, and clay depos ited during the Illinoian and Wisconsinan glaciations. In general, thick deposits of till containing lenses of sand and gravel dominate the drift in the area west of the Scioto River. The thickest and most productive parts of the glacial drift aquifer are in the buried valleys in the central and eastern parts of the study area underlying the Scioto River and Big Walnut Creek. Horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the glacial drift aquifer differs spa tially and ranges from 30 to 375 feet per day. The specific yield ranges from 0.12 to 0.30. The secondary source of ground water within the study area is the underlying carbonate bedrock aquifer, which consists of Silurian and Devonian limestones, dolomites, and shales. The horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the carbonate bedrock aquifer ranges from 10 to 15 feet per day. The storage coefficient is about 0.0002. The ground-water-flow system in the South Well Field area is recharged by precipitation, regional ground-water flow, and induced stream infiltration. Yearly recharge rates varied spatially and ranged from 4.0 to 12.0 inches. The three-dimensional, ground-water-flow model was constructed by use of the U.S. Geological Survey three-dimensional finite-difference ground-water-flow code. Recharge, boundary flux, and river leakage are the principal sources of water to the flow system. The study area is bounded on the north and south by streamlines, with flow entering the area from the east and west. Areal recharge is contributed throughout the study area, although a comparatively high percentage of precipitation reaches the water table in the area east of the Scioto River where little surface drain age exists. Ground-water flow is downward in the uplands of the Scioto River, and upward near the river in the glacial drift and carbonate bedrock aquifers. The numerical model contains 53 rows, 45 columns, and 3 layers. The uppermost two layers represent the glacial drift. The bottom layer represents the carbonate bedrock. The horizontal model grid is variably spaced to account for differences in available data and to simulate heads accurately in specific areas of interest. The length and width of grid cells range from 200 to 2,000 feet; the finer spacings are designed to increase detail in the areas near the collector wells. The model uses 7,155 active nodes. Measurements of water levels from October 1979 were used to represent steady-state conditions before municipal pumping at the well field began. Measurements made during March 1986 were used to represent steady-state conditions after commencement of pumping at the well field. Water levels measured during March 1986 - June 1991 were used for calibration targets in the transient simulations. The transient model was discretized into eight stress periods of 93 to 487 days on the basis of recharge, well-field pumpage, and available water-level data. Transient model calibration was based on seven sets of hydraulic-head measure ments made during March 1986 - June 1991. This time period includes large-scale increases in well- field production associated with a drought in the summer of 1988, an

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USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and simulation of ground-water flow at the South Well Field, Columbus, Ohio
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Earch Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
iv, 56 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.