Chemical and isotopic analyses and flow-meter measurements in pumped wells were used to determine the source, movement, and age of ground water along a section of the valley-fill aquifer from the San Jacinto Fault to the base of the San Bernardino Mountains near the Newmark area in the Bunker Hill Basin of southern California. Water samples were collected from four multiple-depth well sites, from different depths within three production wells, and from two nearby streams; these samples were analyzed for major ions, selected trace elements, stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen (delta oxygen-18 and delta deuterium), tritium, and carbon-14. Within the production wells, variations in vertical flowrate with depth were recorded during pumped conditions using a standard spinner tool. Where saturated, the upper 200 feet of unconsolidated deposits contributed as much as 60 percent of the well discharge; deposits at depths greater than 700 feet contributed less than 10 percent. Chemical analyses indicate that three general zones of ground-water quality are present along a north-south section--an oxygenated zone near the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, an oxygen-depleted zone near the San Jacinto Fault, and a deeper zone characterized by concentrations of fluoride greater than 1 mg/L and by a general water-quality composition similar to that of base flow in East Twin Creek. The presence of tritium in water from wells along the section indicates that post-1952 recharge has moved rapidly through the valley-fill aquifer to depths as great as 800 feet. Carbon-14 data indicate that the maximum age of ground water, sampled at depths ranging from 600 to 1,000 feet, is less than 5,000 years before present. Ground water along the study section is much younger than ground water from similar depths in other nearby basins. Delta oxygen-18 and delta deuterium data indicate that as much as 25 percent of the discharge from some wells near the base of the San Bernardino Mountains is water that was imported from northern California. Improved knowledge of depth-dependent ground-water flow along this section can aid in the design of an effective strategy for basin management, including remediation of the Newmark area, which is designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Superfund cleanup site.
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USGS Numbered Series
Chemistry and isotopic composition of ground water along a section near the Newmark area, San Bernardino County, California
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
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