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Hydrogeology and water quality of the Floridan aquifer system and effect of Lower Floridan aquifer withdrawals on the Upper Floridan aquifer at Barbour Pointe Community, Chatham County, Georgia, 2013

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5028

Prepared in cooperation with Consolidated Utilities LLC, Chatham County, Georgia
By:
and
DOI:10.3133/sir20165028

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Abstract

Two test wells were completed at the Barbour Pointe community in western Chatham County, near Savannah, Georgia, in 2013 to investigate the potential of using the Lower Floridan aquifer as a source of municipal water supply. One well was completed in the Lower Floridan aquifer at a depth of 1,080 feet (ft) below land surface; the other well was completed in the Upper Floridan aquifer at a depth of 440 ft below land surface. At the Barbour Pointe test site, the U.S. Geological Survey completed electromagnetic (EM) flowmeter surveys, collected and analyzed water samples from discrete depths, and completed a 72-hour aquifer test of the Floridan aquifer system withdrawing from the Lower Floridan aquifer.

Based on drill cuttings, geophysical logs, and borehole EM flowmeter surveys collected at the Barbour Pointe test site, the Upper Floridan aquifer extends 369 to 567 ft below land surface, the middle semiconfining unit, separating the two aquifers, extends 567 to 714 ft below land surface, and the Lower Floridan aquifer extends 714 to 1,056 ft below land surface.

A borehole EM flowmeter survey indicates that the Upper Floridan and Lower Floridan aquifers each contain four water-bearing zones. The EM flowmeter logs of the test hole open to the entire Floridan aquifer system indicated that the Upper Floridan aquifer contributed 91 percent of the total flow rate of 1,000 gallons per minute; the Lower Floridan aquifer contributed about 8 percent. Based on the transmissivity of the middle semiconfining unit and the Floridan aquifer system, the middle semiconfining unit probably contributed on the order of 1 percent of the total flow.

Hydraulic properties of the Upper Floridan and Lower Floridan aquifers were estimated based on results of the EM flowmeter survey and a 72-hour aquifer test completed in Lower Floridan aquifer well 36Q398. The EM flowmeter data were analyzed using an AnalyzeHOLE-generated model to simulate upward borehole flow and determine the transmissivity of water-bearing zones. Aquifer-test data were analyzed with a two-dimensional, axisymmetric, radial, transient, groundwater-flow model using MODFLOW–2005. The flowmeter-survey and aquifer-test simulations provided an estimated transmissivity of about 60,000 square feet per day for the Upper Floridan aquifer and about 5,000 square feet per day for the Lower Floridan aquifer.

Water in discrete-depth samples collected from the Upper Floridan aquifer, middle semiconfining unit, and Lower Floridan aquifer during the EM flowmeter survey in August 2013 was low in dissolved solids. Tested constituents were in concentrations within established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water-quality criteria. Concentrations of measured constituents in water samples from Lower Floridan aquifer well 36Q398 collected at the end of the 72-hour aquifer test in November 2013 were generally higher than in the discrete-depth samples collected during EM flowmeter testing in August 2013 but remained within established drinking water-quality criteria.

Water-level data for the aquifer test were filtered for external influences such as barometric pressure, earth-tide effects, and long-term trends to enable detection of small (less than 1 ft) water-level responses to aquifer-test withdrawal. During the 72-hour aquifer test, the Lower Floridan aquifer was pumped at a rate of 750 gallons per minute resulting in a drawdown response of 35.5 ft in the pumped well; 1.6 ft in the Lower Floridan aquifer observation well located about 6,000 ft west of the pumped well; and responses of 0.7, 0.6, and 0.4 ft in the Upper Floridan aquifer observation wells located about 36 ft, 6,000 ft, and 6,800 ft from the pumped well, respectively

Suggested Citation

Gonthier, G.J., and Clarke, J.S., 2016, Hydrogeology and water quality of the Floridan aquifer system and effect of Lower Floridan aquifer withdrawals on the Upper Floridan aquifer at Barbour Pointe Community, Chatham County, Georgia, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5028, 56 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165028.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeology and Water Quality of the Floridan Aquifer System
  • Effect of Lower Floridan Aquifer Withdrawals on the Upper Floridan Aquifer
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1—Estimation of Hydraulic Properties and Drawdown Response

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrogeology and water quality of the Floridan aquifer system and effect of Lower Floridan aquifer withdrawals on the Upper Floridan aquifer at Barbour Pointe Community, Chatham County, Georgia, 2013
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5028
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165028
Year Published:
2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description:
viii, 56 p.
First page:
1
Last page:
56
Country:
United States
State:
Georgia
County:
Chatham County
City:
Savannah
Other Geospatial:
Barbour Pointe Community
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N