Hydrogeology of northwestern Nassau and northeastern Queens Counties, Long Island, New York

Water Supply Paper 1657




A detailed investigation of the geology and ground-water occurrence in northwestern Nassau and northeastern Queens Counties, N.Y., has been completed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Nassau County Department of Public Works and the New York State Water Resources Commission. The area, about 63 square miles, includes the peninsulas of Great Neck and Manhasset Neck and the western part of Nassau County as far south as Garden City. Unconsolidated sediments of Pleistocene and Cretaceous aged 200 to 800 feet thick, constitute the ground-water reservoir of the area. The reservoir includes three discrete aquifers, not all found in the same locality, which transect geologic boundaries. The shallow unconfined aquifer consists of those permeable Pleistocene and Cretaceous deposits that lie within the upper part of the zone of saturation, which extends from slightly below sea level to more than 110 feet above sea level. It is an abundant source of water in much of the area, particularly in the southern part, where the aquifer consists of coarse sand and gravel in a glacial-outwash plain. The intermediate or principal aquifer consists largely of that part of the Magothy(?) formation that occurs from about 50 feet below sea level downward to the top of the clay member of the Raritan formation. Locally, however, the aquifer includes Pleistocene deposits which blanket the Magothy(?) formation or lie in channels cut into it. Although the principal aquifer has limited extent to the north, it is the chief source of water in most of the area, except the peninsulas. The lower or deep confined aquifer is found beneath the entire project area, and consists of the Lloyd sand member of the Raritan formation and the hydraulically contiguous Jameco gravel. The lower limit of the aquifer is the bedrock surface; its upper limit is defined by the overlying clay member of the Raritan formation and the Gardiners clay, the latter abutting against the clay member on the north or, in some valleys and embankments, lying directly upon the clay member. Thus, hydraulic continuity exists between the Lloyd sand member of the Raritan formation (Cretaceous) and the Jameco gravel (Pleistocene) in the northern part of Manhasset and Great Necks. The two contiguous clay bodies overlying the aquifer, the clay member of the Raritan formation and the Gardiners clay, form an effective confining bed which probably extends beyond the shore lines of the project area. The deep confined aquifer is particularly important on Manhasset and Great Necks where locally it is the only source of water available for large public-supply or industrial needs. In general, ground-water supplies in sufficient quantity and of excellent quality can be obtained from the three aquifers underlying northwestern Nassau and northeastern Queens Counties, N.Y. Ground-water withdrawals for public supply have increased with population growth and expanded use from an average of about 10 millions of gallons per day in 1940 to 30 mgd in 1957. In addition, about 10 mgd are pumped for various industrial, institutional and private uses. Much of the water pumped by industry is returned to the ground by diffusion wells and recharge basins. However, an increasing amount of water is lost from the ground-water reservoir due to the expanding network of server systems discharging directly to the sea. In the Manhasset Neck and Great Neck areas, ground-water resources are approaching full development in terms of the total available supply, if such development has not been reached already (1959). The chief limiting factor to further expansion lies in the geometry of the aquifers and the reduced thickness of permeable saturated sediments. In the northern part of both peninsulas, the ground-water reservoir is only about 200 to 400 feet thick, and, locally, as much as 75 percent of the strata in the reservoir consists of rather impermeable silt and clay of the Raritan formation or the Gardiners clay. I

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology of northwestern Nassau and northeastern Queens Counties, Long Island, New York
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. G.P.O.,
v, 90 p. :ill., maps ;24 cm. +