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Open-File Report 2013–1298

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4

Groundwater Quality at Alabama Plating and Vincent Spring, Vincent, Alabama, 2007–2008

By Michael W. Bradley and Amy C. Gill

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (785 KB)Abstract

The former Alabama Plating site in Vincent, Alabama, includes the location where the Alabama Plating Company operated an electroplating facility from 1956 until 1986. The operation of the facility generated waste containing cyanide, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, zinc, and other heavy metals. Contamination resulting from the site operations was identified in groundwater, soil, and sediment. Vincent Spring, used as a public water supply by the city of Vincent, Alabama, is located about ½ mile southwest of the site. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted an investigation at Vincent Spring and the Alabama Plating site, Vincent, Alabama, during 2007–2008 to evaluate the groundwater quality and evaluate the potential effect of contaminated groundwater on the water quality of Vincent Spring. The results of the investigation will provide scientific data and information on the occurrence, fate, and transport of contaminants in the water resources of the area and aid in the evaluation of the vulnerability of the public water supply to contamination.

Samples were analyzed to evaluate the water quality at the former plating site, investigate the presence of possible contaminant indicators at Vincent Spring, and determine the usefulness of stable isotopes and geochemical properties in understanding groundwater flow and contaminant transport in the area. Samples collected from 16 monitor wells near the plating site and Vincent Spring were analyzed for major constituents, trace metals, nutrients, and the stable isotopes for hydrogen (2H/H) and oxygen (18O/16O).

Groundwater collected from Vincent Spring was characterized as a calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate water type with total dissolved solids concentrations ranging from 110 to 120 milligrams per liter and pH ranging from about 7.5 to 7.9 units. Groundwater chemistry at the monitor wells at the Alabama Plating site was highly variable by location and depth. Dissolved solids concentrations ranged from 28 to 2,880 milligrams per liter, and the water types varied from calcium-magnesium-bicarbonate-chloride, to calcium-sulfate or calcium-magnesium-sulfate, to sodium-chloride water types. The stable isotope ratios for hydrogen (2H/H) and oxygen (18O/16O) for water from the monitor wells and from Vincent Spring, based on a single sampling event, can be separated into three groups: (1) Vincent Spring, (2) monitor wells MW03 and MW28, and (3) the remaining Alabama Plating monitor wells.

The geochemical and stable isotope analyses indicate that water from Vincent Spring is distinct from water from the Alabama Plating monitor wells; however, this evaluation is based on a single sampling event. Although the water from Vincent Spring, for this sampling event, is different and does not seem to be affected by contaminated groundwater from the Alabama Plating site, additional hydrologic and water-quality data are needed to fully identify flow paths, the potential for contaminant transport, and water-quality changes through time.

First posted February 26, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Tennessee Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
640 Grassmere Park, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37211
Telephone: 615 837–4799

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Suggested citation:

Bradley, M.W., and Gill, A.C., 2014, Groundwater quality at Alabama Plating and Vincent Spring, Vincent, Alabama, 2007–2008: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1298, 20 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)




Groundwater Quality

Summary and Conclusions


Appendix 1. Cation-anion calculations and Stiff diagrams for water-quality samples collected at Alabama Plating and Vincent Spring, 2007

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