Ground-water resources, Cumberland County, New Jersey

Special Report 34
Prepared in cooperation with United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey


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Cumberland County is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic province along the northeastern shore of Delaware Bay in Southwestern New Jersey. An average annual hydrologic budget was computed for Cumberland County. Water gains are: precipitation, 1,050 mgd (million gallons per day); surface-water inflow, 142 mgd; ground-water inflow negligible. Water losses are: evapotranspiration, 685 mgd; surface-water outflow, 370 mgd; ground-water outflow, 137 mgd.

Unconsolidated and semiconsolidated Coastal Plain sediments, 2,500 to 4,500 feet thick, and ranging in age from Cretaceous to Holocene, consist of layers of clay, silt, sand and gravel. Aquifers composed mainly of sand and gravel occur in the Potomac Group and Raritan and Magothy Formations, the Wenonah Formation and Mount Laurel Sand, the Piney Point Formation, and the Kirkwood Formation and Cohansey Sand.

Aquifers in the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy sequence contain saline water and are not currently utilized in Cumberland County. However, they may be utilized in the future for underground storage of fresh water, or possibly other uses when more is known about this aquifer system.

The aquifer in the Wenonah Formation and Mount Laurel Sand is not presently utilized in Cumberland County. It is probably suitable for future development, however of wells yielding as much as 300 gpm (gallons per minute) of good quality water in the northern part of the county.

The Piney Point Formation is tapped in Cumberland County by only a few wells; each of these generally yield less than 100 gpm. Additional small supplies can be developed from this aquifer. Water from this aquifer requires little or no treatment for domestic use.

Two principal aquifers occur in the Kirkwood Formation and Cohansey Sand: (1) the lower Kirkwood aquifer and (2) the Cohansey-Kirkwood aquifer. Most wells tapping the lower Kirkwood aquifer yield less than 50 gpm but are capable of yielding as much as 400 gpm. Wells in the lower Kirkwood range in depth from 200 to 370 feet. The Cohansey-Kirkwood aquifer is the shallowest and most important source of ground-water in the county but is highly susceptible to surface contamination. This aquifer is highly permeable; analysis of data from two pumping tests indicates permeabilities of 1,200 and 2,700 gpm per square foot. It generally yields large supplies of water (300 to 1,200 gpm) to wells from depths of less than 180 feet. Water in the Cohansey-Kirkwood aquifer is characterized by 1mv dissolved-solids content (63 mg/l, median), low hardness (21 mg/l, median), and low pH values (5.5 pH units, median).

Water use in Cumberland County varies and is highly seasonal, mainly because of increasing requirements for irrigation and the food processing industries in the county. In 1964 seasonal use ranged from 27 mgd in March to 145 mgd in August. This is much higher than withdrawals in neighboring Salem and Cape May Counties. In 1964 withdrawals in Cumberland County averaged about 51 mgd; almost all of this, 49.4 mgd, was from ground-water supplies. The total annual water use in 1964 according to type of use was: for public supply, 10.6 mgd; for industrial uses, 19.0 mgd; irrigation, 15.4 mgd; suburban, rural, residential, institutional, farm, and commercial, 5.9 mgd. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype State/Local Government Series
Title Ground-water resources, Cumberland County, New Jersey
Series title Special Report
Series number 34
Year Published 1971
Language English
Publisher State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water Resources
Description 112 p.
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Cumberland County
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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