The U.S. Geological Survey investigated contaminant migration in the Galena-Platteville aquifer at the Parson's Casket Hardware site in Belvidere, Ill. This report presents the results of the first phase of the investigation, from August through December 1990.
A packer assembly was used to isolate various depth intervals in three 150-foot-deep boreholes in the dolomite aquifer. Aquifer-test data include vertical distributions of vertical hydraulic gradient, horizontal hydraulic conductivity (K), and response of water levels in observation wells to borehole pumping. Water-quality data include vertical distributions of field-measured properties and laboratory determinations of concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
vertical hydraulic gradients in the aquifer were downward. The downward gradients ranged from less than 0.01 to 0.37 foot/foot. The largest gradient was associated with an elevated-K interval at 115 to 125 feet below land surface.
The hydraulic characteristics of strata within the aquifer seem to be generally consistent across the site. The strata can be subdivided into five hydraulic units with the following approximate depth ranges-and K's : (1) a 1- to 5-foot-thick weathered surface at about 35 feet below land surface, 1-200 ft/d (feet per day); (2) 35-80 feet, 0.05-0.5 ft/d; (3) 80-115 feet, 0.5 ft/d; (4) 115-125 feet, 0.5-10 ft/d; and (5) 125-150 feet, 0.5 ft/d.
Water-level drawdowns were detected in one shallow bedrock observation well during pumping of some of the packed intervals in a nearby borehole, indicating that the degree of vertical connection between some intervals in the aquifer may be greater than that between others. During development pumping of one borehole, drawdowns were detected in a nearby well screened in the lower part of the overlying glacial-drift deposits, indicating hydraulic connection between the glacial drift aquifer and the bedrock aquifer.
VOC's were detected throughout the upper half (about 150 feet ) of the bedrock aquifer beneath the site. The detected compounds were predominantly chlorinated ethenes and ethanes (maximum concentration was 570 ppb (parts per billion) of trichloroethylene. There was a positive correlation between concentrations of VOC's, specific conductance, and K.
The distribution of VOC concentrations indicate that the low-K dolomite beds in the Galena-Platteville aquifer may impede the downward migration of the VOC's and that the high-K beds and fissures may provide pathways for the lateral migration of VOC's through the aquifer. Contaminant migration is possibly affected by ground-water flow through vertical fractures that connect shallow beds with deeper beds in the aquifer, thus explaining the detections of some VOC species at intermittent depths.