Geohydrology and evaluation of water-resource potential of the upper Floridan Aquifer in the Albany area, southwestern Georgia

Water Supply Paper 2391

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In the Albany area of southwestern Georgia, the Upper Floridan aquifer lies entirely within the Dougherty Plain district of the Coastal Plain physiographic province, and consists of the Ocala Limestone of late Eocene age. The aquifer is divided throughout most of the study area into an upper and a lower lithologic unit, which creates an upper and a lower water-bearing zone. The lower waterbearing zone consists of alternating layers of sandy limestone and medium-brown, recrystallized dolomitic limestone, and ranges in thickness from about 50 ft to 100 ft. It is highly fractured and exhibits well-developed permeability by solution features that are responsible for transmitting most of the ground water in the aquifer. Transmissivity of the lower water-bearing zone ranges from about 90,000 to 178,000 ft2/d. The upper water-bearing zone is a finely crystallized-to-oolitic, locally dolomitic limestone having an average thickness of about 60 ft. Transmissivities are considerably less in the upper water-bearing zone than in the lower water-bearing zone. The Upper Floridan aquifer is overlain by about 20-120 ft of undifferentiated overburden consisting of fine-to-coarse quartz sand and noncalcareous clay. A clay zone about 10-30 ft thick may be continuous throughout the southwestern part of the Albany area and, where present, causes confinement of the Upper Floridan aquifer and creates perched ground water after periods of heavy rainfall. The Upper Floridan aquifer is confined below by the Lisbon Formation, a mostly dolomitic limestone that contains trace amounts of glauconite. The Lisbon Formation is at least 50 ft thick in the study area and acts as an impermeable base to the Upper Floridan aquifer. The quality of ground water in the Upper Floridan aquifer is suitable for most uses; wells generally yield water of the hard, calcium-bicarbonate type that meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Primary or Secondary Drinking-Water Regulations. The water-resource potential of the Upper Floridan aquifer was evaluated by compiling results of drilling and aquifer testing in the study area, and by conducting computer simulations of the ground-water flow system under the seasonally low conditions of November 1985, and under conditions of pumping within a 12-mi 2 area located southwest of Albany. Results of test drilling, aquifer testing, and water-quality analyses indicate that, in the area southwest of Albany, geohydrologic conditions in the Upper Floridan aquifer, undifferentiated overburden, and Lisbon Formation were favorable for the aquifer to provide a large quantity of water without having adverse effects on the groundwater system. The confinement of the Upper Floridan aquifer by the undifferentiated overburden and the rural setting of the area of potential development decrease the likelihood that chemical constituents will enter the aquifer during development of the ground-water resources. Computer simulations of ground-water flow in the Upper Floridan aquifer, incorporating conditions for regional flow across model boundaries, leakage from rivers and other surface-water features, and vertical leakage from the undifferentiated overburden, were conducted by using a finite-element model for ground-water flow in two dimensions. Comparison of computed and measured water levels in the Upper Floridan aquifer for November 1985 at 74 locations indicated that computed water levels generally were within 5 ft of the measured values, which is the accuracy to which measured water levels were known. Water-level altitudes ranged from about 260 ft to 130 ft above sea level in the study area during calibration. Aquifer discharge to the Flint River downstream from the Lake Worth dam was computed by the calibrated model to be about 1 billion gallons per day; about 300 million gallons per day (Mgal/d) greater than was measured for similar lowflow conditions. The excess computed discharge was attributed partially to stream withdrawals for

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USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrology and evaluation of water-resource potential of the upper Floridan Aquifer in the Albany area, southwestern Georgia
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Water Supply Paper
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vi, 59 p. :ill., maps (some col.) ;28 cm.; 2 plates in pocket