Sufficient water is available in the streams of the area surrounding Birmingham to supply any foreseeable demand; however, to utilize these streams impounding reservoirs and rather long supply lines will be required. Moderate supplies of ground water are available from wells, springs, and mines. The average water use in the area, not including reclaimed and recirculated water, was about 157 mgd during 1951. About 55 mgd was used for domestic or commercial purposes, and 102 mgd was used for industrial purposes. The .quantity of water withdrawn would have to be much greater if a considerable amount of reclaimed and recirculated water had not been used. The Birmingham water-supply systems are used at almost full capacity, and plans are being considered by the city to expand its supply greatly.
An estimated 4 mgd of ground water from wells and springs is used for municipal supplies, and 8 mgd is used for industrial purposes. Smaller amounts of ground water are used for irrigation and rural supply. Individual springs in the area are capable of yielding as much as 750 gpm and wells as much as 500 gpm. Some water from worked and abandoned coal and iron mines is used for .public and industrial supplies. One of the conclusions reached by the ground-water study is that ground water has not been fully developed in wells and springs of the area and that mine water which would have to be treated for most municipal and industrial purposes is a potential source of water.
Generally, the surface water in the Birmingham. area is of better quality than ground water. Surface water is low in dissolved mineral matter and is extremely soft. Some of the streams carry excessive quantities of iron. Village and Valley Creeks carry some surface pollution making the water unsuitable for many uses. Ground water in this area is usually low in color and ranges in temperature from 62 ? to 72 ?F. Water from limestone, dolomite, and chert usually is moderately to extremely hard. Calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonate are the predominant constituents. The quantity of iron in ground water from most of the aquifers is low, except from the Pottsville formation. The Floyd shale and the Parkwood formation yield sodium bicarbonate waters high in sulfate and low in calcium, magnesium, chloride, and nitrate. Ground water from the Pottsville formation is more variable in quality than water from other formations in the area. Water samples from the mine shafts yielding from this formation were .highly mineralized and extremely, hard.