Analysis of Groundwater Response to Tidal Fluctuations, Site 10 Naval Magazine Indian Island, Port Hadlock, Washington

Open-File Report 2018-1192
Prepared in cooperation with the Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest
By:  and 



Site 10 at Naval Magazine Indian Island is an approximately 3.7-acre inactive landfill. The site was used as the primary landfill for the island from about 1945 until the mid-1970s, receiving paints, batteries, trash, and materials. In a memorandum to Washington State Department of Ecology, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest (NAVFAC NW) stipulated that a new tidal study would be conducted to recalculate tidal influence lag-time in each groundwater monitoring well at Site 10.

Groundwater levels and specific conductance in five monitoring wells, along with marine water-levels (tidal levels) in Port Townsend Bay, were monitored every 15 minutes during a 2-week period to better understand nearshore groundwater-seawater interactions at Site 10. Time series data were collected from April 17 to May 3, 2018, a period that included neap and spring tides.

Vertical profiles of specific conductance were measured once in the screened interval of each well prior to instrument deployment to determine if a freshwater/saltwater interface was present in the well prior to instrument deployment. Profiles where measured during an ebbing tide at approximately the top, middle, and bottom of the saturated thickness within the screened interval of each well. The landward-most well, MW10-8 and coastline wells MW10-10, MW10-11 and MW10-12R, had a uniform specific conductance in the range of fresh or brackish water. Landfill monitoring well MW10-6 showed the highest uniform specific conductance profile also in the range of brackish water.

Lag times between minimum spring-tide levels and minimum groundwater levels in wells ranged from about 0 to 4 hours. Results of lag times showed a logical increase in lag time as the distance increases from the shoreline to each monitoring well.

The specific-conductance time-series data showed minimal change in the screened interval of each well. Fluctuation of specific conductance in each well was unique but no sharp groundwater saltwater interface was observed. Increases in specific conductivity concurrent with spring low tides were measured in coastline wells, suggesting shoreward transport of high specific conductivity landfill leachate rather than seawater intrusion.

Based on all the data collected during this investigation, the optimal time for sampling monitoring wells at Site 10 would be during a 0–4-hour period following the predicted low-low tide.

Suggested Citation

Opatz, C.C., and Dinicola, R.S., 2018, Analysis of groundwater response to tidal fluctuations, Site 10 Naval Magazine Indian Island, Port Hadlock, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018-1192, 21 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Field Data Collection
  • Results and Discussion
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Analysis of groundwater response to tidal fluctuations, Site 10 Naval Magazine Indian Island, Port Hadlock, Washington
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2018-1192
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181192
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Washington Water Science Center
Description iv, 21 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Naval Magazine Indian Island
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details