Saline ground-water discharge to the Smoky Hill River between Salina and Abilene, central Kansas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 81-43



  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS


Saline water discharges from the alluvium into the Smoky Hill and Solomon Rivers near Salina, Kansas, at about 32 cubic feet per second. Chloride concentrations at base flow increase about 800 milligrams per liter in the Smoky Hill River and 550 milligrams per liter in the Solomon River. The source of the saline water is the underlying Wellington aquifer, a zone of dissolution, subsidence, and collapse that occurs along the eastern margin of the Wellington Formation. Locally brine from the aquifer moves upward through collapse structures in the confining layer at the base of the alluvium. The brine discharge ranges from 0.3 to 0.8 cubic foot per second and the chloride load ranges from 150 to 370 tons per day. Results from a mathematical model of the flow system indicated that recharge from periodic flooding, as in 1973, was sufficient to reverse the normal (1976-77) hydraulic gradient between aquifers. Although brine discharge was temporarily reduced, saline-water discharge to the rivers was increased. Brine in the Wellington aquifer could be intercepted by wells and pumped to deep formations or stored for release to the river during high flows. The freshwater in upstream base flow could be diverted, and saline-water discharge could be retained by low-head dams in the channel for release during high flows. (USGS)

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Saline ground-water discharge to the Smoky Hill River between Salina and Abilene, central Kansas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division,
71 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.