The ground-water resources of the South Fork of Long Island, N.Y., were investigated from April 1974 to September 1977. The study area encompasses 137 square miles and includes the eastern part of the Town of Southampton and the entire Town of East Hampton.
The South Fork consists of a Paleozoic basement complex that is overlain by Cretaceous and Pleistocene sediments. The surficial material is composed of Late Wisconsinan glacial and glaciofluvial deposits in association with beach and marsh deposits of Recent age. Till underlies most of the eastern part of the South Fork. Precipitation is the sole source of fresh ground water on the South Fork. Average annual precipitation recorded at Bridgehampton from 1931-76 is 45 inches; about half this amount reaches the ground-water reservoir. It is estimated that overland runoff amounts to 0.5 inches per year, and evapotranspiration is 23 inches per year. Thus, recharge equals approximately 22 inches per year.
Hydraulic conductivity and transmissivity of the Magothy (Cretaceous) and upper glacial (Pleistocene) aquifers on the South Fork were estimated from aquifer tests and specific-capacity data. The average horizontal hydraulic conductivity of the Magothy aquifer is 70 feet per day, and of the upper glacial aquifer 350 feet per day. Transmissivity of the Magothy aquifer on the South Fork ranges from 600 to 24,100 feet squared per day; transmissivity of the upper glacial aquifer ranges from 5,400 feet to 22,700 feet squared per day. No potable water is available from the underlying Lloyd aquifer.
The position of the freshwater to saline-water interface is depicted in maps. In the southern part of the area, the freshwater reservoir follows the Ghyben-Herzberg principle, but in the northern part, the depth to interface is less than expected owing to a greater degree of anisotropy of the geologic units.
Total public-supply pumpage on the South Fork is estimated to be about 3 Mgal/day, (million gallons per day). Public-supply withdrawals in 1976 averaged 2.75 Mgal/day; of this amount, 2.55 Mgal/day was withdrawn from the upper glacial aquifer, and 0.17 Mgal/day from the Magothy aquifer.
Ground water and fresh surface water on the South Fork are generally of suitable quality for drinking and most other uses. However, some substances, for example, iron, chloride, and nitrate, may occur locally in objectionable concentrations.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrologic appraisal of water resources of the South Fork, Long Island, New York