Geohydrology, Water Quality, and Simulation of Ground-Water Flow in the Vicinity of a Former Waste-Oil Refinery near Westville, Indiana, 1997–2000

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4221
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
By: , and 



Geohydrologic and water-quality data collected during 1997 through 2000 in the vicinity of a former waste-oil refinery near Westville, Indiana, define a plume of 1,4-dioxane in ground water that extends to the southwest approximately 0.8 miles from the refinery site. Concentrations of 1,4-dioxane in the plume ranged from 3 to 31,000 micrograms per liter. Ground water containing 1,4-dioxane is discharged to Crumpacker Ditch, approximately one-half mile west of the refinery site. Concentrations of 1,4-dioxane detected in surface water ranged from 8 to 140 micrograms per liter; 1,4-dioxane also is transported in ground water beneath the ditch.

The study area is underlain by glacial deposits of sand and gravel that overlie lacustrine clay and shale. The sand and gravel deposits form an extensive aquifer ranging from 148 to 215 feet thick in the study area. Ground water generally flows from northeast to southwest and the depth to water ranges from about 3 to 36 feet below land surface. The average horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer, determined from a multiple-well aquifer test, was 121 feet per day, and the transmissivity was 18,600 feet squared per day. Vertical hydraulic conductivity ranged from 24 to 36 feet per day and specific yield ranged from 0.05 to 0.08. Analysis of single-well aquifer tests indicated that horizontal hydraulic conductivity ranged from 0.6 to 127 feet per day and was largest in the lower part of the aquifer. Horizontal gradients averaged about 0.001 feet per foot; estimated ground-water- flow velocities averaged about 0.1 feet per day in the upper and middle parts of the glacial aquifer and about 0.4 feet per day near the bottom of the aquifer.

Analytical results of water samples indicate the ground water generally is a calcium-bicarbonate type with a nearly neutral pH. Specific conductivity ranged from 437 to 1,030 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius in water from wells upgradient from the refinery site and 330 to 3,780 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius in water from downgradient wells. Barium, iron, manganese, nickel, and zinc commonly were detected in samples of ground water. Volatile organic compounds (including chlorinated solvents and aromatic hydrocarbons) were consistently detected in samples from shallow wells near the boundaries of the former refinery site. Concentrations of 1,4-dioxane were detected in water from wells screened in the upper, middle, and lower parts of the aquifer downgradient from the site and in samples of surface water collected approximately 5 miles downstream from where the plume intersects Crumpacker Ditch.

A three-dimensional, four layer groundwater- flow model was constructed and calibrated to match ground-water levels and streamflow measured during December 1997. The model was used to simulate possible mechanisms of contaminant release, the effect of increased pumpage from water-supply wells, and pumping at the leading edge of the plume as a possible means of remediation. Based on simulation of three waste-oil lagoons, a vertical hydraulic conductivity of 0.2 feet per day was required to move contaminants into the bottom layer of the model at a constant leakage rate of about 98 gallons per minute. Simulations of a disposal well in layer 3 of the model indicated an injection rate of 50 gallons per minute was necessary to spread contaminants vertically in the aquifer. Simulated pumping rates of about 300 and 1,000 gallons per minute were required for water supply wells at the Town of Westville and the Westville Correctional Facility to draw water from the plume of 1,4-dioxane. Simulated pumping from hypothetical wells at the leading edge of the plume indicated that three wells, each pumping 25 gallons per minute from model layer 3, would capture the plume of 1,4-dioxane.

Suggested Citation

Duwelius, R.F., Yeskis, D.J., Wilson, J.T., and Robinson, B.A., 2002, Geohydrology, water quality, and simulation of ground-water flow in the vicinity of a former waste-oil refinery near Westville, Indiana, 1997–2000: U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report, 161 p.,

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Description of Study Area
  • Methods of Data Collection and Analysis
  • Geohydrology
  • Water Quality
  • Simulation of Ground-Water Flow
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendixes

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geohydrology, water quality, and simulation of ground-water flow in the vicinity of a former waste-oil refinery near Westville, Indiana, 1997–2000
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 2001-4221
DOI 10.3133/wri014221
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Indiana Water Science Center
Description vii, 161 p.
Country United States
State Indiana
City Westville
Scale 1
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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