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Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5145

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Water-level conditions in selected confined aquifers of the New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain, 2003

By Vincent T. dePaul, Robert Rosman, and Pierre J. Lacombe

ABSTRACT

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The Coastal Plain aquifers of New Jersey provide an important source of water for more than 2 million people. Steadily increasing withdrawals from the late 1800s to the early 1990s resulted in declining water levels and the formation of regional cones of depression. In addition to decreasing water supplies, declining water levels in the confined aquifers have led to reversals in natural hydraulic gradients that have, in some areas, induced the flow of saline water from surface-water bodies and adjacent aquifers to freshwater aquifers. In 1978, the U.S. Geological Survey began mapping the potentiometric surfaces of the major confined aquifers of New Jersey every 5 years in order to provide a regional assessment of ground-water conditions in multiple Coastal Plain aquifers concurrently. In 1988, mapping of selected potentiometric surfaces was extended into Delaware.

During the fall of 2003, water levels measured in 967 wells in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, northeastern Delaware, and northwestern Maryland were used estimate the potentiometric surface of the principal confined aquifers in the Coastal Plain of New Jersey and five equivalent aquifers in Delaware. Potentiometric-surface maps and hydrogeologic sections were prepared for the confined Cohansey aquifer of Cape May County, the Rio Grande water-bearing zone, the Atlantic City 800-foot sand, the Vincentown aquifer, and the Englishtown aquifer system in New Jersey, as well as for the Piney Point aquifer, the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer, and the Upper Potomac-Raritan-Magothy, the Middle and undifferentiated Potomac-Raritan-Magothy, and the Lower Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifers in New Jersey and their equivalents in Delaware.

From 1998 to 2003, water levels in many Coastal Plain aquifers in New Jersey remained stable or had recovered, but in some areas, water levels continued to decline as a result of pumping. In the Cohansey aquifer in Cape May County, water levels near the center of the cone of depression underlying the southern part of the peninsula remained about the same as in 1998. To the south, recoveries up to 8 feet were observed in southern Lower Township as withdrawals had decreased since 1998. In the northern part of Cape May County, water levels had not changed substantially from historic conditions. In the Rio Grande water-bearing zone, water levels rose by as much as 13 ft at the Rio Grande well field; elsewhere across the aquifer, little change had occurred.

In the Atlantic City 800-foot sand, water-level changes were greatest in southern Cape May County; at the Cape May desalination wells, water levels were as much as 32 ft lower in 2003 than in 1998. In contrast, water levels at the center of a regional cone of depression near Atlantic City rose by as much as 10 ft. Within the Piney Point aquifer water levels rose by 46 ft near Seaside Park. Similarly, water levels increased by more than 30 ft in and around the major cone of depression underlying Dover, Delaware. In the Vincentown aquifer, water levels stabilized or recovered by 2 ft to 6 ft from 1998 to 2003 in most of the wells measured; the exception is near Adelphia in Monmouth County, where water levels rose by as much as 18 ft.

From 1998 to 2003, water levels near the center of a large cone of depression that extends from Monmouth to Ocean County recovered by as much as 20 ft in the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer. Concurrently, ground-water levels within the Englishtown aquifer system declined by as much as 13 ft in the same area. Water levels across much of the Upper Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer in the northern Coastal Plain remained about the same as 5 years previous, except in northern Ocean County where ground-water levels declined 10 ft to 33 ft. Water levels in the Middle Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer declined from 5 to 9 ft along the border between Monmouth and Middlesex County. Elsewhere, across the northern part of the Coastal Plain, water levels stabilized within the Cretaceous-age aquifers.

In southern New Jersey, regional cones of depression persist in the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties. From 1998 to 2003, water levels in these large cones were generally stable or recovering across much of southern New Jersey; recoveries from 5 ft to 10 ft occurred in all three aquifers, and exceeded 20 ft in places within the Lower aquifer. In contrast, water levels declined near the center of the cone of depression within the Lower aquifer in central Camden County. Water levels in the Middle Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer declined by as much 7 ft in central New Castle County, Delaware; however, those within the major cone of depression in the Lower aquifer stabilized from 1998 to 2003. In general, water levels across the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer recovered in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties from 1998 to 2003; rises of nearly 30 ft were observed in central Gloucester County.

First posted March 9, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, New Jersey Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
810 Bear Tavern Rd., Suite 206
West Trenton, NJ 08628

http://nj.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

dePaul, V.T., Rosman, Robert, and Lacombe, P.J., 2009, Water-level conditions in selected confined aquifers of the New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain, 2003: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5145, 123 p., 9 pl.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Data Collection and Analysis

Cohansey Aquifer

Rio Grande Water-Bearing Zone

Atlantic City 800-Feet Sand

Piney Point Aquifer

Vincentown Aquifer

Wenonah-Mount Laurel Aquifer

Englishtown Aquifer System

Upper Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer

Middle and undifferentiated Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer

Lower Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer

Summary

Acknowledgements

References Cited

Rio Grande Water-Bearing Zone

Appendix 1. Water-level data for wells screened in the confined Cohansey aquifer and the Rio Grande water-bearing zone, New Jersey Coastal Plain, 1978-2003

Appendix 2. Water-level data for wells screened in the Atlantic City 800-foot sand, New Jersey Coastal Plain, 1978-2003

Appendix 3. Water-level data for wells screened in the Piney Point aquifer, New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain and vicinity, 1978-2003

Appendix 4. Water-level data for wells screened in the Vincentown aquifer, New Jersey Coastal Plain, 1978-2003

Appendix 5. Water-level data for wells screened in the Wenonah-Mount Laurel aquifer, New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain, 1978-2003

Appendix 6. Water-level data for wells screened in the Englishtown aquifer system, New Jersey Coastal Plain, 1978-2003

Appendix 7. Water-level data for wells screened in the Upper Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer, New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain and vicinity, 1978-2003

Appendix 8. Water-level data for wells screened in the Middle and undifferentiated Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer, New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain and vicinity, 1978-2003

Appendix 9. Water-level data for wells screened in the Lower Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer, New Jersey and Delaware Coastal Plain and vicinity, 1978-2003



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