The characteristics of regional ground-water flow were investigated in a 4,500-square-mile region of south-central Washington, centered on the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Hanford Reservation. The investigation is part of the Commission's feasibility study on storing high-level radioactive waste in chambers mined in basaltic rocks at a. depth of about 3,000 feet or more below the surface. Ground-water flow., on a regional scale, occurs principally in the basalt and-in interbedded sediments of the Columbia River Group, and is controlled by topography, the structure of the basalt, and the large streams--the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima Rivers. The ground water beneath the main part of the Hanford Reservation, south and west of the Columbia River, inures southeastward from recharge areas in the uplands, including Cold Creek and Dry Creek valleys, and ultimately discharges to the Columbia River south of the reservation: East and southeast of the Columbia River, ground water flows generally southwestward and discharges to the River. The Yakima River valley contains a distinct flow system in which movement is toward the Yakima River from the topographic divides. A large southward-flowing ground-water system beneath the southern flank of the Horse Heaven Hills discharges to the Columbia River in the westward-trending reach downstream from Wallula Gap.
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USGS Numbered Series
A preliminary evaluation of regional ground-water flow in south-central Washington