Hydrogeologic investigation of the Malvern TCE Superfund Site, Chester County, Pennsylvania
Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4286
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Ronald A. Sloto
The Malvern TCE Superfund Site, a former solvent recycling facility that now stores and sells solvents, consists of a plant and disposal area, which are approximately 1,900 ft (feet) apart. The site is underlain by an unconfined carbonate bedrock aquifer in which permeability has been enhanced in places by solution. Water levels respond quickly to precipitation and show a similar seasonal variation, response to precipitation, and range of fluctuation. The altitude of water levels in wells at the disposal area is nearly identical because of the small hydraulic gradient. A comparison of water-table maps for 1983, 1993, and 1994 shows that the general shape of the water table and hydraulic gradients in the area have remained the same through time and for different climatic conditions.
The plant area is underlain by dolomite of the Elbrook Formation. The dolomite at the plant area does not yield as much water as the dolomite at the disposal area because it is less fractured, and wells penetrate few water-bearing fractures. Yields of nine wells at the plant area range from 1 to 200 gal/min (gallons per minute); the median yield is 6 gal/min. Specific capacities range from 0.08 to 2 (gal/min)/ft (gallons per minute per foot). Aquifer tests were conducted in two wells; median transmissivities estimated from the aquifer-test data ranged from 528 to 839 feet squared per day. Maximum concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) in ground water at the plant area in 1996 were 53,900 ug/L (micrograms per liter) for trichloroethylene (TCE), 7,110 ug/L for tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and 17,700 ug/L for 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA).
A ground-water divide is located between the plant area and the disposal area. Ground-water withdrawal for dewatering the Catanach quarry has caused a cone of depression in the water-table surface that reaches to the plant area. From the plant area, ground water flows 1.2 miles to the northeast and discharges to the Catanach quarry. The regional hydraulic gradient between the plant and the Catanach quarry is 0.019. Concentrations of VOC's in water from wells drilled northeast and donwgradient of the plant property boundary are one to two orders of magnitude less than concentrations in water from wells less than 100 ft away at the plant.
A capture-zone analysis was performed for two wells at the plant area. The analysis showed that pumping well CC-19 at 20 gal/min would be sufficient to capture all ground-water flow from the plant area. Although water from other wells at the plant site contains higher concentrations of VOC's than water from well CC-19, pumping well CC-19 would induce the flow of water with higher concentrations of VOC's; however, pumping well CC-19 might causes VOC's to move lower into the aquifer.
The disposal area is underlain by the Ledger Dolomite. The dolomite at the disposal area is much more fractured than the dolomite at the plant area. Although many of the fractures are filled or partially filled with clay, the dolomite at the disposal area yields more water than the dolomite at the plant area. Yields of eight wells at the disposal area range from 15 to more than 200 gal/min; the median yield is greater than 100 gal/min. Specific capacities range from 2 to 280 (gal/min)/ft. Aquifer tests were conducted in two wells; estimated transimissivities were 34,900 and 56,300 feet squared per day. Concentrations of VOC's in ground water are lower at the disposal area than at the plant area. Water samples collected from wells at the disposal area in 1996 had maximum concentrations of TCE of 768 ug/L, PCE of 111 ug/L, and TCA of 108 ug/L. These concentrations are lower than concentrations in water samples collected before cleanup of drums in the disposal area was completed in 1984.
Ground water from the disposal area flows south-southeast toward Valley Creek. The hydraulic gradient between the disposal area and Valley Creek is 0.001. A well-defined plume of VOC’s in ground water extends downgradient from the disposal area toward Valley Creek. A comparison of data from 1995 to 1996 with data from 1981 to 1984 shows that concentrations of TCE, PCE, and TCA in water from most off-site wells have decreased and that water from fewer wells contains detectable concentrations of those compounds.
A capture-zone analysis was performed for three wells at the disposal area. The analysis showed that pumping wells CC-16, CC-17, and CC-18 at a combined rate of 270 gal/min would form a capture zone ranging from approximately 443 to 477 ft wide at a distance 500 ft upgradient from the center of the pumping wells. Pumping wells CC-16 and CC-17 together at a combined rate of 172 gal/min would form a capture zone ranging from approximately 172 to 400 ft wide at a distance 500 ft upgradient from the center of the pumping wells.
Sloto, R.A., 1997, Hydrogeologic investigation of the Malvern TCE Superfund Site, Chester County, Pennsylvania: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 1996–4286, 124 p., https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/wri964286.
Table of Contents
- Methods of investigation
- Regional hydrogeologic setting
- Hydrogeology and contaminant distribution
- Capture zones
- References cited
- Appendix 1. Record of off-site wells
- Appendix 2. Geologic logs
- Appendix 3. Well-construction diagrams
- Appendix 4. Graphs of drawdown and recovery measured during aquifer tests
- Appendix 5. Monthly water-level measurements
- Appendix 6. Results of chemical analyses for volatile organic compounds
Additional publication details
- Publication type:
- Publication Subtype:
- USGS Numbered Series
- Hydrogeologic investigation of the Malvern TCE Superfund Site, Chester County, Pennsylvania
- Series title:
- Water-Resources Investigations Report
- Series number:
- Year Published:
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Publisher location:
- Reston, VA
- Contributing office(s):
- Pennsylvania Water Science Center
- xiv, 124 p.
- Online Only (Y/N):