Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5144
Water-quality samples collected in an area prone to groundwater flooding in Wawarsing, New York, were analyzed and assessed to better understand the hydrologic system and to aid in the assessment of contributing water sources. Above average rainfall over the past decade, and the presence of a pressurized water tunnel that passes about 700 feet beneath Wawarsing, could both contribute to groundwater flooding. Water samples were collected from surface-water bodies, springs, and wells and analyzed for major and trace inorganic constituents, dissolved gases, age tracers, and stable isotopes. Distinct differences in chemistry exist between tunnel water and groundwater in unconsolidated deposits and in bedrock, and among groundwater samples collected from some bedrock wells during high head pressure and low head pressure of the Rondout–West Branch Tunnel. Samples from bedrock wells generally had relatively higher concentrations of sulfate
Age-tracer data provided useful information on pathways of the groundwater-flow system, but were limited by inherent problems with dissolved gases in bedrock wells. The sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and (or) chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) apparent recharge years of most water samples from wells screened in unconsolidated deposits and springs ranged from 2003 to 2010 (current) and indicate short flow paths from the point of groundwater recharge. All but three of the samples from bedrock wells had interference problems with dissolved gases, mainly caused by excess air from degassing of hydrogen sulfide and methane. The SF6 and (or) CFC apparent recharge years of samples from three of the bedrock wells ranged from the 1940s to the early 2000s; the sample with the early 2000s recharge year was from a flowing artesian well that was chemically similar to water samples collected at the influent to the tunnel at Rondout Reservoir and the most hydraulically responsive to water tunnel pressure compared to other bedrock wells.
Data described in this report can be used, together with hydrogeologic data, to improve the understanding of source waters and groundwater-flow patterns and pathways, and to help assess the mixing of different source waters in water samples. Differences in stable isotope ratios, major and trace constituent concentrations, saturation indexes, tritium concentrations, and apparent groundwater ages will be used to estimate the proportion of water that originates from Rondout–West Branch Tunnel leakage.
First posted October 2, 2012
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Brown, C.J., Eckhardt, D.A., Stumm, Frederick, and Chu, Anthony, 2012, Preliminary assessment of water chemistry related to groundwater flooding in Wawarsing, New York, 2009–11: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5144, 36 p. (Also available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2012/5144/.)
Methods of Data Collection and Analysis
Water Sources and Chemistry
Summary and Conclusions