Ground-water levels, predevelopment ground-water flow, and stream-aquifer relations in the vicinity of the Savannah River Site, Georgia and South Carolina

Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4197




Ground-water levels, predevelopment ground-water flow, and stream-aquifer relations in the vicinity of the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site, Georgia and South Carolina, were evaluated as part of a cooperative study between the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Energy, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources. As part of this evaluation: (1) ground-water-level fluctuations and trends in three aquifer systems in sediment of Cretaceous and Tertiary age were described and related to patterns of ground-water use and precipitations; (2) a conceptual model ofthe stream-aquifer flow system was developed; (3) the predevelopment ground-water flow system, configuration of potentiometric surfaces, trans-river flow, and recharge-discharge relations were described; and (4) stream-aquifer relations and the influence of river incision on ground-water flow and stream-aquifer relations were described. The 5,147-square mile study area is located in the northern part of the Coastal Plain physiographic province of Georgia and South Carolina. Coastal Plain sediments comprise three aquifer systems consisting of seven aquifers that are separated hydraulically by confining units. The aquifer systems are, in descending order: (1) the Floridan aquifer system?consisting of the Upper Three Runs and Gordon aquifers in sediments of Eocene age; (2) the Dublin aquifer system?consisting of the Millers Pond, upper Dublin, and lower Dublin aquifers in sediments of Paleocene-Late Cretaceous age; and (3) the Midville aquifer system?consisting of the upper Midville and lower Midville aquifers in sediments of Late Cretaceous age. The Upper Three Runs aquifer is the shallowest aquifer and is unconfined to semi-confined throughout most of the study area. Ground-water levels in the Upper Three Runs aquifer respond to a local flow system and are affected mostly by topography and climate. Ground-water flow in the deeper, Gordon aquifer and Dublin and Midville aquifer systems is characterized by local flow near outcrop areas to the north, changing to intermediate flow and then regional flow downdip (southeastward) as the aquifers become more deeply buried. Water levels in these deeper aquifers show a pronounced response to topography and climate in the vicinity of outcrops, and diminish southeastward where the aquifer is more deeply buried. Stream stage and pumpage affect ground-water levels in these deeper aquifers to varying degrees throughout the study area. The geologic characteristics of the Savannah River alluvial valley substantially control the configuration of potentiometric surfaces, ground-water-flow directions, and stream-aquifer relations. Data from 18 shallow borings indicate incision into each aquifer by the paleo Savannah River channel and subsequent infill of permeable alluvium, allowing for direct hydraulic connection between aquifers and the Savannah River along parts of its reach. This hydraulic connection may be the cause of large ground-water discharge to the river near Jackson, S.C., where the Gordon aquifer is in contact with Savannah River alluvium, and also the cause of lows or depressions formed in the potentiometric surfaces of confined aquifers that are in contact with the alluvium. Ground water in these aquifers flows toward the depressions. The influence of the river is diminished downstream where the aquifers are deeply buried, and upstream and downstream ground-water flow is possibly separated by a water divide or 'saddle'. Water-level data indicate that saddle features probably exist in the Gordon aquifer and Dublin aquifer system, and also might be present in the Midville aquifer system. Ground-water levels respond seasonally or in long term to changes in precipitation, evapotranspiration, pumpage, and river stage. Continuous water-level data and water-levels measured in a network of 271 wells during the Spring (May) and Fall (October) in 1992, indicate that seasonal water-level changes generally are

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Ground-water levels, predevelopment ground-water flow, and stream-aquifer relations in the vicinity of the Savannah River Site, Georgia and South Carolina
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
ix, 118 p. :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm. [PGS - 120 p.]