Hydrogeologic investigation of the Malvern TCE Superfund Site, Chester County, Pennsylvania

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4286




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 p

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
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
xiv, 124 p. :ill. (some col.), maps (some col.) ;28 cm.