Hydrogeology and water quality in the Graces Quarters area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland

Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4175




Graces Quarters was used for open-air testing of chemical-warfare agents from the late 1940's until 1971. Testing and disposal activities have resulted in the contamination of ground water and surface water. The hydrogeology and water quality were examined at three test areas, four disposal sites, a bunker, and a service area on Graces Quarters. Methods of investigation included surface and borehole geophysics, water-quality sampling, water- level measurement, and hydrologic testing. The hydrogeologic framework is complex and consists of a discontinuous surficial aquifer, one or more upper confining units, and a confined aquifer system. Directions of ground-water flow vary spatially and temporally, and results of site investigations show that ground-water flow is controlled by the geology of the area. The ground water and surface water at Graces Quarters generally are unmineralized; the ground water is mildly acidic (median pH is 5.38) and poorly buffered. Inorganic constituents in excess of certain Federal drinking-water regulations and ambient water-quality criteria were detected at some sites, but they probably were present naturally. Volatile and semivolatile organic com- pounds were detected in the ground water and surface water at seven of the nine sites that were investi- gated. Concentrations of organic compounds at two of the nine sites exceeded Federal drinking-water regulations. Volatile compounds in concentrations as high as 6,000 m/L (micrograms per liter) were detected in the ground water at the site known as the primary test area. Concentrations of volatile compounds detected in the other areas ranged from 0.57 to 17 m/L.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology and water quality in the Graces Quarters area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
vii, 115 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.