Geohydrology and digital-simulation model of the Farrington aquifer in the northern coastal plain of New Jersey

Water-Resources Investigations Report 79-106
Prepared in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection



A two-dimensional digital-computer flow model was developed to simulate the Farrington aquifer in the northern part of the Coastal Plain of New Jersey. The area of detailed study includes approximately 500 square miles in Middlesex and Monmouth Couties where the aquifer provides a large part of the municipal and industrial water supply. The area modeled is much larger, extending seaward as well as northeastward into Long Island. The aquifer consists chiefly of the Farrington Sand Member of the Raritan Formation and is composed of sand and some gravel. It thickens from a featheredge in outcrop to more than 170 feet, 11 miles to the southeast. The confining unit between the Farrington and the overlying Old Bridge Sand Member of the Magothy Formation consists primarily of the Woodbridge Clay Member of the Raritan Formation and has a maximum thickness of 244 feet. The model simulates both water-table and artesian conditions. The confining unit overlying the Farrington aquifer is simulated as having a variable thickness and vertical hydraulic conductivity. The effect of a declining water level in the overlying Old Bridge aquifer on the Farrington aquifer is also simulated by the model. Values used to describe the hydraulic properties of the Farrington aquifer are: a hydraulic conductivity of 105 feet per day, a storage coefficient of 1.6 x 10-4 for artesian conditions, and a specific yield of 0.25 for water-table conditions. Values for the overlying confining unit are: a vertical hydraulic conductivity ranging from 4.2 x 10-7 to 1.0 x 10-10 feet per second and a specific storage of 4 x 10-5 feet-1. Aquifer simulation for the 15-year period, 1959-73, was used to calibrage the model. The model was calibrated by comparing the observed potentiometric surface of November 1973 with the simulated potentiometric surface. In addition, hydrographs for selected wells were compared with model results. Ground-water withdrawals for 1959 and 1973 were 12.1 and 28.5 milion gallons per day, respectively. Potentiometric surfaces for 1985 and 2000 were computed based on a linear projection of ground-water withdrawals (39.5 and 56.9 million gallons per day in 1985 and 2000, respectively) of the period 1959 through 1973. These surfaces are deeper than that of November, 1973, and the cone of depression is wider. The potentiometric head projected by the model in the vicinity of Sayreville will be more than 150 feet below mean sea level by 2000; the head in this area was 70 feet below sea level in 1973. The model calculated ground-water budgets for steady-state and transient conditions for the entire modeled area and for several rectangular subareas. Ground-water flow into the modeled Farrington aquifer under steady-state conditions before ground-water development was 16 cubic feet per second for the entire area. Recharge in the outcrop area and vertical leakage from the Old Bridge was 8 cubic feet per second each. Approximately 75 percent of the discharge occurred as seepage into surface-water bodies in and near the outcrop and as lateral flow southwestward into Burlington County near the outcrop area. The remaining 25 percent occurred southeast of the outcrop as vertical leakage into the overlying Old Bridge aquifer and as lateral flow to the south into Ocean and Burlington Counties. A transient water budget for 1973 was calculated for a subarea consisting mainly of Middlesex County. The model indicates that 48 percent (14.3 cubic feet per second) of the total inflow to the subareas was through its boundaries. Other sources of water include direct recharge within the subarea (5.4 cubic feet per second), vertical leakage (mainly from the Old Bridge) within the subarea (2.6 cubic feet per second), and water released from storage (3.4 cubic feet per second). Discharge from the subarea consisted mainly of withdrawals (26.5 cubic feet per second). It also included vertical leakage to the Old Bridge and discharge to surface-water bodies simulated by constant-head nodes (3.2 cubic feet per second).

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Geohydrology and digital-simulation model of the Farrington aquifer in the northern coastal plain of New Jersey
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 79-106
DOI 10.3133/wri79106
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) New Jersey Water Science Center
Description vi, 55 p.
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Burlington;Middlesex;Monmouth;Ocean
Other Geospatial Farrington Aquifer;Long Island;Old Bridge Aquifer
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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