Hydrogeology and chemical quality of water and soil at Carroll Island, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4169




Carroll Island was used for open-air testing of chemical warfare agents from the late 1940's until 1971. Testing and disposal activities weresuspected of causing environmental contamination at 16 sites on the island. The hydrogeology and chemical quality of ground water, surface water, and soil at these sites were investigated with borehole logs, environmental samples, water-level measurements, and hydrologic tests. A surficial aquifer, upper confining unit, and upper confined aquifer were defined. Ground water in the surficial aquifer generally flows from the east-central part of the island toward the surface-water bodies, butgradient reversals caused by evapotranspiration can occur during dry seasons. In the confined aquifer, hydraulic gradients are low, and hydraulic head is affected by tidal loading and by seasonal pumpage from the west. Inorganic chemistry in the aquifers is affected by brackish-water intrusion from gradient reversals and by dissolution ofcarboniferous shell material in the confining unit.The concentrations of most inorganic constituents probably resulted from natural processes, but some concentrations exceeded Federal water-quality regulations and criteria. Organic compounds were detected in water and soil samples at maximum concentrations of 138 micrograms per liter (thiodiglycol in surface water) and 12 micrograms per gram (octadecanoic acid in soil).Concentrations of organic compounds in ground water exceeded Federal drinking-water regulations at two sites. The organic compounds that weredetected in environmental samples were variously attributed to natural processes, laboratory or field- sampling contamination, fallout from industrial air pollution, and historical military activities.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and chemical quality of water and soil at Carroll Island, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
viii, 156 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.