A study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the geohydrology of the dolomite bedrock at a waste-disposal site near Byron, Illinois. The study was designed to identify and characterize the flow pathways through the bedrock aquifer beneath the site. The geologic units of concern at the site are the Glenwood Formation of the Ancell Group, and the Platteville and Galena Groups. These deposits compose the Galena-Platteville aquifer and the underlying Harmony Hill Shale semiconfining unit. The Galena-Platteville aquifer is an unconfined aquifer.
Geophysical logging, water levels, and aquifer-test data indicate the presence of interconnected, hydraulically active fractures in the middle of the Galena-Platteville aquifer (the upper flow pathway), and a second set of hydraulically active fractures (the lower flow pathway). The lower flow pathway may be present through much of the site. Few hydraulically active fractures are present in the upper part of the aquifer near the center of the site, but appear to be more numerous in the upper part of the aquifer in the western and northeastern parts of the site.
Water-level data obtained during the tracer test indicate that pumping effects were present near the pumped wells. Pumping effects may have been present at several wells located along directions of identified fracture orientation from the pumped well. The upper part of the aquifer did not appear to be hydraulically well connected to the flow pathways supplying water to the pumped well. Large background changes in water levels obscured the effects of pumping and prevented calculation of aquifer properties. The velocity of the bromide tracer through the lower flow pathway under the hydraulic gradient resulting from the pumping was about 152 feet per day. Solution of the Darcy velocity equation results in a calculated effective porosity for this interval of 3.5 percent, indicating hydraulic interconnection between the fractures and the aquifer matrix. Ground-water velocity through the lower flow pathway was calculated to be 15.4 feet per day under hydrostatic conditions.