The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects ground-water data and conducts studies to monitor hydrologic conditions, to better define ground-water resources, and address problems related to water supply and water quality. Data collected as part of ground-water studies include geologic, geophysical, hydraulic property, water level, and water quality. A ground-water-level network has been established throughout most of the State of Georgia, and ground-water-quality networks have been established in the cities of Albany, Savannah, and Brunswick and in Camden County, Georgia.
Ground-water levels are monitored continuously in a network of wells completed in major aquifers of the State. This network includes 17 wells in the surficial aquifer, 12 wells in the upper and lower Brunswick aquifers, 73 wells in the Upper Floridan aquifer, 10 wells in the Lower Floridan aquifer and underlying units, 12 wells in the Claiborne aquifer, 1 well in the Gordon aquifer, 11 wells in the Clayton aquifer, 11 wells in the Cretaceous aquifer system, 2 wells in Paleozoic-rock aquifers, and 7 wells in crystalline-rock aquifers. In this report, data from these 156 wells were evaluated to determine whether mean-annual ground-water levels were within, below, or above the normal range during 2001, based on summary statistics for the period of record. Information from these summaries indicates that water levels during 2001 were below normal in almost all aquifers monitored, largely reflecting climatic effects from drought and pumping. In addition, water-level hydrographs for selected wells indicate that water levels have declined during the past 5 years (since 1997) in almost all aquifers monitored, with water levels in some wells falling below historical lows. In addition to continuous water-level data, periodic measurements taken in 52 wells in the Camden County-Charlton County area, and 65 wells in the city of Albany-Dougherty County area were used to construct potentiometric-surface maps for the Upper Floridan aquifer.
Ground-water quality in the Upper Floridan aquifer is monitored in the cities of Albany, Savannah, and Brunswick and in Camden County; and monitored in the Lower Floridan aquifer in the Savannah and Brunswick areas. In the Albany area since 1998, nitrate concentrations in the Upper Floridan aquifer have increased in 4 of the 11 wells monitored, and in 1 well, concentrations were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) drinking-water standard. In the Savannah area, chloride concentration in water from four wells in the Upper Floridan aquifer showed no appreciable change during 2001, remaining within the USEPA 250 mg/L drinking-water standard; in seven wells completed in the Lower Floridan aquifer and in underlying zones, the chloride concentration remained above the drinking-water standard, with one well showing an increase over previous years.
In the Brunswick area, water samples from 66 wells completed in the Upper or Lower Floridan aquifers were collected during June 2001 and analyzed for chloride. A map showing chloride concentrations in the Upper Floridan aquifer during June 2001 indicates that concentrations remained above USEPA drinking-water standards across a 2-square-mile area. In the north Brunswick area, chloride concentrations in the Upper Floridan aquifer continued to increase, whereas in the south Brunswick area, concentrations continued to decrease.
In the Camden County area, chloride concentrations in six wells completed in the Upper Floridan aquifer remained within drinking-water standards. With the exception of one well, concentrations remained the same and were below 40 mg/L. In one well, concentrations showed a sharp decline during 2001, but remained above 130 mg/L.
Ongoing studies during 2001 include evaluation of agricultural chemicals in shallow ground water in southwestern Georgia; evaluation of saltwater intrusion and water-level and water-quality m