Geohydrology and Water Quality of the Stratified-Drift Aquifers in West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York

Scientific Investigations Report 2021-5064
Prepared in cooperation with the Town of Newfield and the Tompkins County Planning Department
By: , and 

Links

  • Document: Report (5.46 MB pdf)
  • Tables:
    • Table 3.1 (4.74 KB csv) - Physical properties and concentrations of common ions, nutrients, radiochemical properties, and dissolved gases in groundwater samples from confined aquifers in the West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Creek Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York
    • Table 3.2 (2.98 KB csv) - Concentrations of trace elements in groundwater samples from confined aquifers in the West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Creek Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York
  • Data Releases:
    • USGS data release - Geospatial datasets for the geohydrology and water quality of the stratified-drift aquifers in West Branch Cayuga Inlet/Fish Kill aquifers in Newfield, Tompkins County, New York
    • USGS data release - Horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio and depth-to-bedrock for geohydrology and water quality of the stratified-drift aquifer in West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York, July 2011–November 2016
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core

Abstract

From 2011 to 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Town of Newfield and the Tompkins County Planning Department, performed a study of the stratified-drift aquifers in the West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys in Newfield, Tompkins County, New York. Both confined and unconfined aquifers were identified, mostly in the valleys. The confined aquifer consists of a discontinuous sand and gravel layer that overlies bedrock and is commonly confined by overlying fine-grained sediments. The unconfined aquifer consists of surficial ice contact sand and gravel, alluvial silt, sand and gravel, and areas where several large tributary streams deposited alluvial fans in the valley, all of which were deposited during and after the last glacial recession.

The unconfined aquifers are primarily recharged by direct infiltration of precipitation at the land surface, by surface runoff and shallow subsurface flow from adjacent hillsides, and by seepage loss from streams crossing the aquifer, especially on alluvial fans. The confined aquifers are primarily recharged by groundwater stored in the overlying sand and gravel aquifer that slowly seeps downward through the underlying confining layer. Other sources of recharge are precipitation that falls directly on the surficial confining unit and adjacent valley walls, which then slowly seeps downward and enters the confined aquifer, and groundwater flow from bordering till and bedrock and from bedrock below the valley. There may also be some recharge where confining units are absent or where parts of the confining units contain sediments with moderate permeability.

The groundwater naturally discharges to the Fish Kill and West Branch Cayuga Inlet streams and to wetlands overlying the aquifer boundaries, with additional losses due to evapotranspiration. Groundwater is pumped from the aquifers by domestic, municipal, and agricultural wells. Approximately 57.9 million gallons per year was withdrawn from the stratified-drift (sand and gravel) aquifers.

Groundwater samples were collected from 11 wells, and surface water samples were collected at 2 sites, one each from Fish Kill and West Branch Cayuga Inlet. None of the common ions (for example, sodium, chloride, and magnesium) exceeded existing drinking water standards at either surface water site. The concentration of nitrate plus nitrite detected was 0.4 milligram per liter as nitrogen in the West Branch Cayuga Inlet site. Total phosphorus was detected at 0.01 milligram per liter as phosphate for both sites. Of the 11 wells sampled, 8 were finished in confined sand and gravel aquifers, 1 was finished in unconfined sand and gravel, and 2 were finished in shale bedrock. Groundwater quality in the study area generally met Federal and State drinking-water standards. However, of the 11 samples taken, 2 exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking water advisory taste threshold of 20 milligrams per liter for sodium, 8 exceeded the secondary maximum contaminant level of 300 micrograms per liter for iron, and 9 exceeded the secondary maximum contaminant level of 50 micrograms per liter for manganese.

Suggested Citation

Fisher, B.N., Heisig, P.M., and Kappel, W.M., 2021, Geohydrology and water quality of the stratified-drift aquifers in West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2021–5064, 42 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20215064.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods of Investigation
  • Depositional History and Framework of Glacial and Postglacial Deposits
  • Quality of Surface Water and Groundwater in the Stratified-Drift Aquifer in Newfield
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1
  • Appendix 2
  • Appendix 3
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geohydrology and water quality of the stratified-drift aquifers in West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys, Newfield, Tompkins County, New York
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2021-5064
DOI 10.3133/sir20215064
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New York Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 42 p.; 2 Tables; 2 Data Releases
Country United States
State New York
Other Geospatial West Branch Cayuga Inlet and Fish Kill Valleys
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details