A cooperative study by the Albany Water, Gas, and Light Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey was conducted to evaluate the hydrogeology of the Upper Floridan aquifer in an area southwest of Albany and west of the Flint River in Dougherty County, Ga. The study area lies in the Dougherty Plain district of the Coastal Plain physiographic province. In this area, the Upper Floridan aquifer is comprised of the upper Eocene Ocala Limestone, confined below by the middle Eocene Lisbon Formation, and semiconfined above by the undifferentiated Quaternary overburden. The overburden ranges in thickness from about 30 to 50 feet and consists of fine to coarse quartz sand, clayey sand, sandy clay, and clay. The Upper Floridan aquifer has been subdivided into an upper water-bearing zone and a lower water-bearing zone based on differences in lithology and yield. In the study area, the upper water-bearing zone generally consists of dense, highly weathered limestone of low permeability and ranges in thickness from 40 to 80 feet. The lower water-bearing zone consists of hard, slightly weathered limestone that exhibits a high degree of secondary permeability that has developed along fractures and joints, and ranges in thickness from about 60 to 80 feet. Borehole geophysical logs and borehole video surveys indicate two areas of high permeability in the lower water-bearing zone-one near the top and one near the base of the zone.
A wellfield consisting of one production well and five observation-well clusters (one deep, intermediate, and shallow well in each cluster) was constructed for this study. Spinner flowmeter tests were conducted in the production well between the depths of 110 and 140 feet below land surface to determine the relative percentages of water contributed by selected vertical intervals of the lower water-bearing zone. Pumping rates during these tests were 1,080, 2,200, and 3,400 gallons per minute. The results of these pumping tests show that the interval between 118 and 124 feet below land surface contributes a significant percentage of the total yield to the well.
An aquifer test was conducted by pumping the production well at a constant rate of 3,300 gallons per minute for about 49 hours. Time-dependent water-level data were collected throughout the pumping and recovery phases of the test in the pumped well and the observation wells. The maximum measured drawdown in the observation wells was about 2.6 ft. At about 0.5 mile from the pumped well, there was little measurable effect from pumping. Water levels increased during the test in wells located within about 3.75 miles of the Flint River (about 0.5 miles east of the pumping well). This water-level increase correlated with a 3.5-feet increase in the stage of the Flint River.
The hydraulic characteristics of the Upper Floridan aquifer were evaluated using the Hantush-Jacob curve-matching and Jacob straight-line methods. Using the Hantush-Jacob method, values for transmissivity ranged from about 120,000 to 506,000 feet squared per day; values for storage coefficient ranged from 1.4 x 10-4 to 6.3 x 10-4; and values for vertical hydraulic conductivity of the overlying sediments ranged from 4.9 to 6.8 feet per day. Geometric averages for these values of transmissivity, storage coefficient, and vertical hydraulic conductivity were calculated to be 248,000 feet squared per day, 2.7 x 10-4, and 5.5 feet per day, respectively. If a dual porosity aquifer model (fracture flow plus matrix flow) is assumed instead of leakage, and the Jacob straight-line method is used with late time-drawdown data, the calculated transmissivity of the fractures ranged from about 233,000 to 466,000 feet squared per day; and storage coefficient of the fractures plus the matrix ranged from 5.1 x 10-4 to 2.9 x 10-2.