Geohydrology of the Stockton Formation and cross-contamination through open boreholes, Hatboro Borough and Warminster Township, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4047

, , and



The study area consists of a 9-square-mile area underlain by sedimentary rocks of the middle arkose member of the Stockton Formation of Upper Triassic age. In the Hatboro area, the Stockton Formation strikes approximately N. 65 degrees E. and dps approximately 9 degrees NW. The rocks are chiefly arkosic sandstone and siltstone. Rocks of the Stocton Formation form a complex, heterogeneous, multiaquifer system consisting of a series of gently dipping lithologic units with different hydraulic properties. Most ground water in the unweathered zone moves through a network of interconnecting secondary openigns-fractures, bedding plans, and joints. Ground water is unconfined in the shallower part of the aquifer and semiconfined or confined in the deeper part of the aquifer. Nearly all deep wells in the Stockton Formation are open to several water-bearing zones and are multiaquifer wells. Each water-bearing zone usually has a different hydraulic head. Where differences in hydraulic head exist between water-bearing zones, water in the well bore flows under nonpumping conditions in the direction of decreasing head. Determination of the potential for borehole flow was based on caliper, natural-gamma, single- point-resistance, fluid-resistivity, and (or) fluid-temperature logs that were run in 162 boreholes 31 to 655 feet deep. The direction and rate of borehole-fluid movement were determined in 83 boreholes by the bring-tracing method and in 10 boreholes by use of a heat-pulse flowmeter. Borehole flow was measurable in 65 of the 93 boreholes (70 percent). Fluid movement at rates up to 17 gallons per minute was measured. Downward flow was measured in 36 boreholes, and upward flow was measured in 23 boreholes, not including those boreholes in which two directions of flow were measured. Both upward and downward vertical flow was measured in six boreholes; these boreholes are 396 to 470 feet deep and were among the deepest boreholes logged. Fluid movement was upward in the upper part of the borehole and downward in the lower part of the borehole in two boreholes. Fluid movement wad downward in the upper part of the borehole and upward in the lower part of the borehole in three boreholes. Groung-water contamination by volatile organic compounds (VOC's) is widespread in the study area. Detectable concentrations of VOC's were present in water samples from 24 wells sampled in Hatboro Brough and in water samples for 10 of 14 wells (71 percent) samples in Warminster Township. Samples of borehole flow from nine boreholes in the industrial area of Hatboro were collected for laboratory analysis to estimate the quantity of VOC's in borehole flow. Downward flow was measured in all of these boreholes. Concentrations of TCE, TCA, and 1,1-DCE as great at 5,800, 1,400 and 260 micrograms per liter, respectively, show that some water moving downward in the aquifer through these open boreholes is highly contaminated and that open boreholes may contribute substantially to ground-water contamination. An estimated 14.7 gallons per year of VOC's were moving downward through the nine open boreholes sampled from the contaminated, upper part of the aquifer to the lower part, which is tapped by public supply wells. Borehole geophysical logs were used as a guide to design and construct monitor-well networks at three National Priorities List sites in the area. An open borehole was dirlled, and a suite of geophysical logs was run. Interpretation of geophysical logs enabled the identification of water-bearing zones that produce and receive water; these are zones that should not be connected. From the logs, discrete intervals to be monitored were selected. In the Stockton Formation, the same water-bearing zone may not be intersected in adjacent boreholes, especially if it is a vertical fracture with a diffident magnetic orientation than that of the adjacent boreholes. In most areas of the stockton Formation, depth of water-bearing zones in an are

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrology of the Stockton Formation and cross-contamination through open boreholes, Hatboro Borough and Warminster Township, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
v, 49 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.