Simulated ground-water flow and water quality of the Mississippi River alluvium near Burlington, Iowa, 1999
Water-Resources Investigations Report 2000-4274
Prepared in cooperation with the City of Burlington, Iowa
- Robert A. Boyd
The City of Burlington, Iowa, obtains some of its public water supply by withdrawing ground water from the Mississippi River alluvium, an alluvial aquifer adjacent to the Mississippi River. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the City of Burlington, conducted a hydrologic study of the Mississippi River alluvium near Burlington in 1999 to improve understanding of the flow system, evaluate the effects of hypothetical pumping scenarios on the flow system, and evaluate selected water-quality constituents in parts of the alluvium.
A steady-state, ground-water flow model was constructed for a 7-square-mile area of the alluvium using October 1999 hydrologic conditions to help conceptualize the flow system, identify sources of water to the alluvium, and assess potential effects from additional hypothetical ground-water withdrawals from the lower alluvium. The model was discretized into a 70-row by 68-column grid using cells measuring 200 feet by 200 feet. Three model layers were used to represent flow in the upper part of the alluvium, lower part of the alluvium, and bedrock. The primary sources of ground water to the alluvium were subsurface flow from areas of the alluvium adjacent to the modeled area, recharge from precipitation, subsurface flow from Flint River streamchannel deposits adjacent to the alluvium, and river leakage. The primary components of outflow from the flow system were river leakage, municipal ground-water withdrawals (pumpage), and leakage to drainage ditches.
Three hypothetical pumping scenarios were used to assess the potential effects of increased ground-water withdrawals from the lower part of the alluvium: (1) pumping a second existing municipal well at a rate of 0.5 million gallons per day, (2) pumping a hypothetical well completed in an area between the city water-treatment facility and Flint River at a rate of 1.0 million gallons per day, and (3) pumping a hypothetical well completed in an area south of the Flint River at a rate of 1.0 million gallons per day. Maximum additional simulated drawdown in the upper alluvium ranged from less than 3 feet (for scenario 1) to about 9 feet (for scenario 3). Maximum additional simulated drawdown in the lower alluvium ranged from about 12 feet (for scenario 1) to about 34 feet (for scenario 3). Water budgets for each scenario indicated future additional withdrawals from the flow system near Burlington’s existing municipal wells would significantly increase the amount of river leakage into the flow system.
Water samples collected from the alluvium indicated ground water can be classified as a calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate type. Reducing conditions likely occur in some localized areas of the alluvium, as suggested by relatively large concentrations of dissolved iron (4,390 micrograms per liter) and manganese (2, 430 micrograms per liter) in some ground-water samples. Nitrite plus nitrate was detected at concentrations greater than or equal to 8 milligrams per liter in three samples collected from observation wells completed in close proximity to cropland; the nitrite plus nitrate concentration in one groundwater sample exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contaminant Level for nitrate in drinking water (10 milligrams per liter as N). Triazine herbicides (atrazine, cyanazine, propazine, simazine, and selected degradation products) and chloroacetanilide herbicides (acetochlor, alachlor, and metolachlor) were detected in some water samples. A greater number of herbicide compounds were detected in surface-water samples than in ground-water samples. Herbicide concentrations typically were at least an order of magnitude greater in surfacewater samples than in ground-water samples. The Maximum Contaminant Level for alachlor (2 micrograms per liter) was exceeded in a sample from Dry Branch Creek at Tama Road and for atrazine (3 micrograms per liter) was exceeded in samples collected from Dry Branch Creek at Tama Road and the county drainage ditch at Tama Road.
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Simulated ground-water flow and water quality of the Mississippi River alluvium near Burlington, Iowa, 1999
- Series title:
- Water-Resources Investigations Report
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- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Reston, VA
- Contributing office(s):
- Iowa Water Science Center
- v, 46 p.; ill., maps; 28 cm.
- United States
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