Simulated effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system and Piney Point aquifer, Maurice and Cohansey River Basins, Cumberland County and vicinity, New Jersey

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5144
Prepared in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, conducted a study to simulate the effects of withdrawals from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system on streamflow and groundwater flow and from the Piney Point aquifer on water levels in the Cohansey and Maurice River Basins in Cumberland County and surrounding areas. The aquifer system consists of gravel, sand, silt, and clay sediments of the Cohansey Sand and Kirkwood Formation that dip and thicken to the southeast. The aquifer system is generally an unconfined aquifer, but semi-confined and confined conditions exist within the Cumberland County study area. The Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system is present throughout Cumberland County and is the principal source of groundwater for public, domestic, agricultural-irrigation, industrial, and commercial water uses. In 2008, reported groundwater withdrawals from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system in the study area totaled about 21,700 million gallons—about 36 percent for public supply; about 49 percent for agricultural irrigation; and about 15 percent for industrial, commercial, mining by sand and gravel companies, and non-agricultural irrigation uses. A transient numerical groundwater-flow model of the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system was developed and calibrated by incorporating monthly recharge, base-flow estimates, water-level data, surface-water diversions and discharges, and groundwater withdrawals from 1998 to 2008.

The groundwater-flow model was used to simulate five withdrawal scenarios to observe the effects of additional groundwater withdrawals on the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system and streams. These scenarios include (1) average 1998 to 2008 monthly groundwater withdrawals (baseline scenario); (2) monthly full-allocation groundwater withdrawals, but agricultural-irrigation withdrawals were decreased for October through March; (3) monthly full-allocation groundwater withdrawals; (4) estimated monthly groundwater demand in 2050 at municipal public-supply wells; and (5) estimated 2050 monthly groundwater demand at municipal public-supply wells for which pumping of selected municipal public-supply wells was moved to a deeper part of the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system. The results of the baseline scenario (scenario 1) were used for comparison with the results of scenarios 2‒5.

The results of scenarios 2‒3 indicate that simulated water-level declines occurred in the Cohansey River Basin when full-allocation groundwater withdrawals were incorporated (scenarios 2 and 3). In scenarios 2 and 3, full-allocation withdrawals in the Cohansey River Basin were approximately 266 and 407 percent greater, respectively, than in the baseline scenario. In scenario 2, the largest decline in simulated water levels was more than 67 ft in June and September of scenario year 11, whereas in scenario 3, simulated water levels declined as much as 90 ft in June and more than 100 ft in September of scenario year 11. These simulated declines occurred in a small area around one pumped well in the Cohansey River Basin. The average decline in simulated water levels for this basin was less than 10 ft for scenario 2 and less than 20 ft for scenario 3. In scenario 2, the Menantico Creek subbasin in the Maurice River Basin had a decrease in base flow during about 29 percent of the 11-year simulation period, and in scenario 3, the decrease occurred during about 71 percent of the 11-year simulation period. In scenario 3, base flow in the Cohansey River Basin was less than the 7-day 10-year low flow in all months of simulation years 7 through 11. Several agricultural-irrigation wells and a number of public-supply wells are within the Cohansey River Basin and the Menantico Creek subbasin.

Three additional scenarios were simulated to evaluate the possible use of the Piney Point aquifer in the Cumberland County study area using the New Jersey Regional Aquifer-System Analysis model, which incorporates all aquifers in the New Jersey Coastal Plain. Various groundwater-withdrawal rates were input to the steady-state New Jersey Regional Aquifer-System Analysis model to assess changes in water levels in the Piney Point aquifer.

The three steady-state scenarios for the New Jersey Regional Aquifer-System Analysis model included the annual average 2004‒08 withdrawals for each well in the groundwater-flow model. The results of scenario 6 were used for comparison to the results of scenarios 7 and 8. The groundwater withdrawals in scenario 7 are the same as in scenario 6, except withdrawals from 50 municipal public-supply wells in the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system that are within the boundary of the Cumberland County study area were increased to estimated 2050 withdrawals. In addition, a municipal public-supply well from nine municipalities in the study area pumping from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system was assigned the estimated 2050 demand for the Piney Point aquifer instead. The groundwater withdrawals in scenario 8 are the same as in scenario 6, except withdrawals from the municipal public-supply wells in the municipalities of Vineland City, Millville City, and Monroe Township were assigned the full-allocation withdrawals. In addition, the full-allocation withdrawals pumped from one existing municipal public-supply well in each of the three municipalities pumping from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system were assigned to pump from the Piney Point aquifer instead. The results of the scenarios indicate that the Piney Point aquifer could provide a limited option for public supply in the southeastern part of Cumberland County with constraints on withdrawal rates and the number and proximity of wells additional to those already pumping from the Piney Point aquifer in Bridgeton City and Buena Borough. The transmissivity of the Piney Point aquifer in the Cumberland County study area is about an order of magnitude lower than the average transmissivity of the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system in the study area. This difference in transmissivity may result in deeper cones of depression around the pumped wells in the Piney Point aquifer.

Suggested Citation

Gordon, A.D., and Buxton, D.E., 2018, Simulated effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system and Piney Point aquifer, Maurice and Cohansey River Basins, Cumberland County and vicinity, New Jersey: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5144, 93 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175144.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

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Table of Contents

  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater-Flow System 
  • Simulation of Groundwater Flow in the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer System 
  • Withdrawal Scenarios Using the Cumberland County Study Area Groundwater-Flow Model 
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Simulated effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system and Piney Point aquifer, Maurice and Cohansey River Basins, Cumberland County and vicinity, New Jersey
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2017-5144
DOI 10.3133/sir20175144
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New Jersey Water Science Center
Description Report: ix, 93 p.; Data release
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Cumberland County
Other Geospatial Cohansey River Basin, Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer System, Maurice River Basin, Piney Point Aquifer
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N