This study explores the possibility of developing a bank-filtration process to improve water quality in which alluvial deposits serve as a natural sand filter to pretreat water to be used as a secondary drinking-water source in a small piedmont reservoir along the Middle Tyger River near Lyman in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. From January 2004 to September 2005, data from 10 auger borings, 2 sediment cores, 29 ground-penetrating radar transects, and 3 temporary observation wells, and field water-chemistry data were collected and analyzed. These data were collected and used to characterize the lithology, geometry, hydraulic properties, yield potential, and water-chemistry characteristics of the alluvial deposits in the channel and on the right bank of the reservoir. The assessment was undertaken to determine if an adequate amount of water could be withdrawn from the alluvial deposits to sustain a bank-filtration process and to characterize the water chemistry of the surface water and pore water.
The heterogeneous alluvial and fill material at the study site--clay, silty clay, clayey sand, fine- to coarse-grained sand, and mica--on the right bank of the Middle Tyger River ranges in thickness from 0.6 to 7 meters, has a calculated horizontal hydraulic conductivity of 1 meter per day, and yields approximately 0.07 liter per second of water. The small calculated horizontal hydraulic conductivity and water yield for these deposits restrict the use of the right bank as a potential bank-filtration site.
The coarse-grained alluvial sand deposit in the channel of the Middle Tyger River, however, may be used for a limited bank-filtration process. The discharge during pumping of the channel deposit yielded water at the rate of 1.9 liters per second. The coarse-grained channel deposit is approximately 49 meters wide and 3 meters thick near the dam. At approximately 183 meters upstream from the dam, the channel narrows to roughly 9 meters and the channel deposits thin to approximately 0.1 meter. Slug tests conducted in the channel deposits near the dam produced a calculated horizontal hydraulic conductivity of 60 meters per day. The limited thickness and aerial extent of the coarse-grained channel deposits coupled with large horizontal hydraulic conductivity likely would allow rapid transmission of water and may degrade the effectiveness of some water-chemistry improvements typical of a bank-filtration process.
Field water-chemistry data were collected for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes at 10 to 15 minute intervals to compare the surface-water and pore-water quality in and beneath the channel of the Middle Tyger River. The waterchemistry data indicate that (1) the mean water temperature was higher in surface water (22.5 degrees Celsius) than in pore water (18.5 degrees Celsius), (2) the mean specific conductance was less in surface water (56.9 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius) than in pore water (125.7 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius), (3) alkalinity was lower in surface water (22.5 milligrams per liter) than in pore water (44.6 milligrams per liter), and (4) recorded pH values ranged between 6.2 and 6.3 in the surface water and pore water during the sampling period. The flow velocity was orders of magnitude slower in the pore water than in the surface water; therefore, the pore water interacts with the alluvial sediment for a longer period of time producing the variation in water-chemistry data between the two waters.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydraulic and field water-chemistry characteristics of piedmont alluvial deposits in the Middle Tyger River near Lyman, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, 2005