USGS

Hydrology of the Jackson, Tennessee, Area and Delineation of Areas Contributing Ground Water to the Jackson Well Fields

U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4146

by Zelda Chapman Bailey

This report is available as a pdf below


Abstract

A comprehensive hydrologic investigation of the Jackson area in Madison County, Tennessee, was conducted to provide information for the development of a wellhead-protection program for two municipal well fields. The136-square-mile study area is between the Middle Fork Forked Deer and South Fork Forked Deer Rivers and includes the city of Jackson.

The formations that underlie and crop out in the study area, in descending order, are the Memphis Sand, Fort Pillow Sand, and Porters Creek Clay. The saturated thickness of the Memphis Sand ranges from 0 to 270 feet; the Fort Pillow Sand, from 0 to 180 feet. The Porters Creek Clay, which ranges from 130 to 320 feet thick, separates a deeper formation, the McNairy Sand, from the shallower units. Estimates by other investigators of hydraulic conductivity for the Memphis Sand range from 80 to 202 feet per day. Estimates of transmissivity of the Memphis Sand range from 2,700 to 33,000 feet squared per day. Estimates of hydraulic conductivity for the Fort Pillow Sand range from 68 to 167 feet per day, and estimates of transmissivity of that unit range from 6,700 to 10,050 feet squared per day.

A finite-difference, ground-water flow model was calibrated to steady-state hydrologic conditions of April 1989, and was used to simulate hypothetical pumping plans for the North and South Well Fields. The aquifers were represented as three layers in the model to simulate the ground-water flow system. Layer 1 is the saturated part of the Memphis Sand; layer 2 is the upper half of the Fort Pillow Sand; and layer 3 is the lower half of the Fort Pillow Sand.

The steady-state water budget of the simulated system showed that more than half of the inflow to the ground-water system is underflow from the model boundaries. Most of this inflow is discharged as seepage to the rivers and to pumping wells. Slightly less than half of the inflow is from areal recharge and recharge from streams. About 75 percent of the discharge from the system is into the streams, lakes, and out of the model area through a small quantity of ground-water underflow. The remaining 25 percent is discharge to pumping wells.

The calibrated model was modified to simulate the effects on the ground-water system of three hypothetical pumping plans that increased pumping from the North Well Field to up to 20 million gallons per day, and from the South Well Field, to up to 15 million gallons per day. Maximum drawdown resulting from the 20 million-gallons-per-day rate of simulated pumping was 44.7 feet in a node containing a pumping well, and maximum drawdown over an extended area was about 38 feet. Up to 34 percent of ground-water seepage to streams in the calibrated model was intercepted by pumping in the simulations. A maximum of 9 percent more water was induced through model boundaries.

A particle-tracking program, MODPATH, was used to delineate areas contributing water to the North and South Well Fields for the calibrated model and the three pumping simulations, and to estimate distances for different times-of-travel to the wells. The size of the area contributing water to the North Well Field, defined by the 5-year time-of-travel capture zone, is about 0.8 by 1.8 miles for the calibrated model and pumping plan 1. The size of the area for pumping plan 2 is 1.1 by 2.0 miles and, for pumping plan 3, 1.6 by 2.2 miles. The range of distance for l-year time-of-travel to individual wells is 200 to 800 feet for the calibrated model and plan 1, and 350 to 950 feet for plans 2 and 3.

The size of the area contributing water to the South Well Field, defined by the 5-year time-of-travel capture zone, is about 0.8 by 1.4 miles for the calibrated model. The size of the area for pumping plans 1 and 3 is 1.6 by 2.2 miles and, for pumping plan 2, 1.1 by 1.7 miles. The range of distance for l-year time-of-travel to individual wells is 120 to 530 feet for the calibrated model, 670 to 1,300 feet for pumping plans 1 and 3, and 260 to 850 feet for pumping plan 2.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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