The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, investigated the hydrogeology of the Galena-Platteville aquifer and its relation to contaminant migration at the Parson's Casket Hardware Superfund site in Belvidere, Ill. This report presents the results of the second phase of the investigation, which lasted from March through October 1991.
The uppermost bedrock units beneath the study site are the Galena and Platteville Groups1; these bedrock units immediately underlie a glacial drift aquifer. The Galena and Platteville Groups, which consist predominantly of dolomite, compose the Galena-Platteville aquifer, and extend from about 40 to 320 feet below land surface. The unconfined Galena-Platteville aquifer is partitioned into five hydrogeologic units. The uppermost unit, the weathered surface of the bedrock, has a horizontal hydraulic conductivity that ranges from about 1 to 200 feet per day. The four underlying units have hydraulic conductivities that range from about 0.01 to 1 foot per day. Vertical hydraulic gradients in the aquifer are typically downward. Horizontal groundwater flow generally is southward to southeastward from the site toward the Kishwaukee River.
Three notable bedding-plane solution fissures and three fractures that crosscut the bedding planes are identified within the dolomite bedrock. The inclined fractures are assumed to function as conduits that connect high conductivity horizontal fissures, thus allowing more rapid vertical movement of ground water and contaminants than would be expected in the generally low conductivity dolomite matrix.
A multiple-well, constant-discharge aquifer test confirms the heterogeneity and anisotropy of the dolomite aquifer. The hydraulic characteristics of the uppermost part of the bedrock aquifer are somewhat different than the characteristics of the deeper part(s) of the aquifer. This is because the principal conduits for water movement are in the deeper part(s) of the aquifer.
Ground-water flow in the Galena-Platteville aquifer beneath the study site is affected by pumping of Belvidere Municipal Wells No. 4 and No. 6. Water levels in wells screened near the vertical midpoint of the aquifer are affected by the municipal-well pumping substantially more than are water levels in wells screened near the top of the aquifer.