Hydrogeology and water quality of the shallow aquifer system at the Mainside, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Site, Dahlgren, Virginia

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4055




Lithologic and geophysical logs of boreholes at 29 sites show that the hydrogeologic framework of the Mainside of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Site at Dahlgren, Virginia, consists of un-consolidated sedimentary deposits of gravel, sand, silt, and clay. The upper 220 feet of these sediments are divided into five hydrogeologic units, including the (1) Columbia (water-table) aquifer, (2) upper confining unit, (3) upper confined aquifer, (4) Nanjemoy-Marlboro confining unit, and (5) Aquia aquifer. The Columbia aquifer in the study area is a local system that is not affected by regional pumping. Ground-water recharge occurs at topographic highs in the northern part of the Mainside, and ground-water discharge occurs at topographic lows associated with adjacent surface-water bodies. Regionally, the direction of ground-water flow in the upper confined and Aquia aquifers is toward the southwest and southeast, respectively. A downward hydraulic gradient exists between the aquifers in the shallow system, and stresses on the Aquia aquifer are indicated by heads that range between 2 and 12 feet below sea level. The ratio of median horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the Columbia aquifer to median vertical hydraulic con-ductivity of the upper confining unit, however, is approximately 2,600:1; therefore, under natural- flow conditions, most water in the Columbia aquifer probably discharges to adjacent surface- water bodies. The composition and distribution of major ions vary in the Columbia aquifer. In general, water samples from wells located along the inland perimeter roads of the study area have chloride or a combination of chloride and sulfate as the dominant anions, and water samples from wells located in the interior of the study area have bicarbonate or a combination of bicarbonate and sulfate as the dominant anions. Sodium and calcium were the dominant cations in most samples. Dissolved solids and four inorganic constituents are present in water from the Columbia aquifer at concentrations that exceed the secondary maximum contaminant levels (SMCL's) for drinking water established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Concentration of dissolved solids exceed the SMCL of 500 milligrams per liter in 3 of 29 samples from the Columbia aquifer. An elevated concentration of sodium is present in one water sample, and elevated concentrations of chloride are present in two water samples. Concentrations of dissolved iron and manga-nese exceed the SMCL in 10 and 17 of 29 water samples, respectively, and are the most extensive water-quality problem with regard to inorganic constituents in the Columbia aquifer.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and water quality of the shallow aquifer system at the Mainside, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Site, Dahlgren, Virginia
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
v, 34 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.