Hydrogeology at Air Force Plant 4 and vicinity and water quality of the Paluxy Aquifer, Fort Worth, Texas

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4091

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center, Environmental Management Directorate
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Ground water in the surficial terrace alluvial aquifer is contaminated at Air Force Plant 4, Fort Worth, Texas, and at the adjacent Naval Air Station. Some of the contaminated water has leaked from the terrace alluvial aquifer to an uppermost interval of the Paluxy Formation (the Paluxy "upper sand") beneath the east parking lot, east of the assembly building, and to the upper and middle zones of the Paluxy aquifer near Bomber Road, west of the assembly building. Citizens are concerned that contaminants from the plant, principally trichloroethylene and chromium might enter nearby municipal and domestic wells that pump water from the middle and lower zones of the Paluxy aquifer.

Geologic formations that crop out in the study area, from oldest to youngest, are the Paluxy Formation (aquifer), Walnut Formation (confining unit), and Goodland Limestone (confining unit). Beneath the Paluxy Formation is the Glen Rose Formation (confining unit) and Twin Mountains Formation (aquifer). The terrace alluvial deposits overlie these Cretaceous rocks.

The terrace alluvial aquifer, which is not used for municipal water supply, is separated from the Paluxy aquifer by the Goodland-Walnut confining unit. The confining unit restricts the flow of ground water between these aquifers in most places; however, downward leakage to the Paluxy aquifer might occur through the "window," where the confining unit is thin or absent.

The Paluxy aquifer is divided into upper, middle, and lower zones. The Paluxy "upper sand" underlying the "window" is an apparently isolated, mostly unsaturated, sandy lens within the uppermost part of the upper zone. The Paluxy aquifer is recharged by leakage from Lake Worth and by precipitation on the outcrop area. Discharge from the aquifer primarily occurs as pumpage from municipal and domestic wells. The Paluxy aquifer is separated from the underlying Twin Mountains aquifer by the Glen Rose confining unit.

Water-level maps indicate that (1) ground water in the terrace alluvial aquifer appears to flow outward, away from Air Force Plant 4; (2) a ground-water mound, possibly caused by downward leakage from the terrace alluvial aquifer, is present in the Paluxy "upper sand" beneath the "window;" and (3) lateral ground-water flow in regionally extensive parts of the Paluxy aquifer is from west to east-southeast.

Trichloroethylene concentrations at Air Force Plant 4 have ranged from about 10,000 to about 100,000 micrograms per liter in the terrace alluvial aquifer, from 8,000 to 11,000 micrograms per liter in the Paluxy "upper sand," and from 2 to 50 micrograms per liter in the upper and middle zones of the Paluxy aquifer. Chromium concentrations at Air Force Plant 4 have ranged from 0 to 629 micrograms per liter in the terrace alluvial aquifer.

The seven municipal wells mostly west and south of Air Force Plant 4 are not along a flowpath for leakage of contaminants from the plant because ground-water flow in the Paluxy aquifer is toward the east-southeast. Furthermore, trichloroethylene was not detected in any of these wells in 1993 when all were sampled for water quality.

The results of water-quality sampling at 10 domestic wells northwest of the Air Force Plant 4 during April 1993 and April 1995 indicated that neither trichloroethylene nor chromium had migrated off-site to these wells.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrogeology at Air Force Plant 4 and vicinity and water quality of the Paluxy Aquifer, Fort Worth, Texas
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Austin, TX
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
iv, 41 p.
United States
Fort Worth
Other Geospatial:
Air Force Plant 4