Ground-Water Conditions and Studies in Georgia, 2002–03

David C. Leeth, John S. Clarke, Caryl J. Wipperfurth, and Steven D. Craigg

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5065, 124 pages (Published 2005) ONLINE ONLY

This report is also available in PDF formatThis report is also available in PDF format: Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5065 (9.4 MB)


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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects ground-water data and conducts studies to monitor hydrologic conditions, better define ground-water resources, and address problems related to water supply, water use, and water quality. Data collected as part of ground-water studies include geologic information, geophysical logs, hydraulic properties, water levels, and water-quality information. During 1938, a ground-water-level network was established for Georgia. Later, ground-water-quality networks were established in the cities of Albany, Savannah, and Brunswick and in Camden County, Georgia.

Ground-water levels are monitored continuously in a network of wells completed in major aquifers throughout the State. The size of this network varies each year because of changes in Federal, State, or local interest. Continuous water-level recorders were operated in 185 wells during 2002 and 177 wells during 2003. Because of the short period of record for a number of these wells (less than 3 years), only 155 wells from the network are discussed in this report. These wells include 18 in the surficial aquifer system, 15 in the Brunswick aquifer system and equivalent sediments, 64 in the Upper Floridan aquifer, 13 in the Lower Floridan aquifer and underlying units, 12 in the Claiborne aquifer, 1 in the Gordon aquifer, 11 in the Clayton aquifer, 12 in the Cretaceous aquifer system, 2 in Paleozoic-rock aquifers, and 7 in crystalline-rock aquifers. In this report, data from these 155 wells were evaluated to determine whether mean-annual ground-water levels were within, below, or above the normal range during 2003, based on summary statistics for the period of record. Information from these summaries and from long-term hydrographs indicates that as a result of drought, water levels continued to decline through the middle of 2002 in almost all aquifers monitored, with water levels in some wells falling below historical lows. During 2003, however, water levels were at or above normal in almost all aquifer monitored, reflecting a recovery from drought. An exception to this general conclusion (water-level recovery from drought) is in the Cretaceous aquifer system where water levels in 10 of the 12 wells monitored were below normal during 2003.

In addition to continuous water-level data, periodic synoptic water-level measurements were collected and used to construct potentiometric-surface maps for the Upper Floridan aquifer in selected areas. In the Camden County –  Charlton County area, measurements were taken in 52 wells during September 2003. In the Brunswick area, measurements in 8 wells were collected during May and June 2002 and in 22 wells during June 2003. In the city of Albany–Dougherty County area, during October 2002 and September 2003, water-level measurements were taken in 68 wells.

Ground-water quality in the Upper Floridan aquifer is monitored in the Albany, Savannah, and Brunswick areas, and in Camden County; and monitored in the Lower Floridan aquifer in the Savannah and Brunswick areas. In the Albany area, nitrate concentrations have been monitored since 1998. Nitrate concentrations increased in 11 of 14 wells from November of 2002 to November 2003 and were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) drinking-water standard in November 2003. In the Savannah area, chloride concentrations in water from four wells in the Upper Floridan aquifer showed no appreciable change during 2003, remaining within the USEPA 250-mg/L drinking-water standard.

In the Brunswick area, water samples from 43 wells were collected during June 2002 and from 56 wells in 2003 and analyzed for concentrations of chloride. Maps showing chloride concentrations in the Upper Floridan aquifer during June 2002 and 2003 indicate that concentrations remained above USEPA drinking-water standards across a 2-square-mile area. In the Camden County area, chloride concentrations in six wells completed in the Upper Floridan aquifer remained within drinking-water standards. With the exception of one well, concentrations showed little change during 2002 –  03 and were below 40 mg/L. In one well, concentrations remained above 110 mg/L.

Ongoing studies during 2002–03 include an assessment of ground-water flow near the Savannah River Site in Georgia and South Carolina; assessment of the surficial and Brunswick aquifer systems in coastal Georgia; evaluation of ground-water flow, and water-quality and water-level monitoring in the city of Albany–Dougherty County area; evaluation of saltwater intrusion and water-level and water-quality monitoring in the city of Brunswick–Glynn County area; evaluation of salt-water intrusion and alternative water sources as part of the Coastal Sound Science Initiative; effects of impoundment of Lake Seminole on water resources in southwestern Georgia; assessment and simulation of stream-aquifer relations in the Lower Apalachicola–Chattahoochee–Flint River Basin; the continuing effort to collect ground-water data in and adjacent to the State of Georgia; assessment of ground-water resources and hydrogeology of crystalline-rock aquifers in Rockdale County, and a study to understand the sustainability of ground-water resources in the city of Lawrenceville area.

Technical highlights from selected USGS studies during 2002 –  03 include that of the hydrogeology and results from aquifer tests in the Brunswick and surficial aquifer systems at selected sites in coastal Georgia; establishment of a ground- and surface-water monitoring network in Lawrenceville, Georgia; water-bearing characteristics of sheet fractures in Rockdale County, Georgia; and projected water use in the coastal area of Georgia, 2000–2050. Selected publications, technical presentations, and outreach activities during 2002 and 2003 also are summarized.

Table of Contents



Purpose and Scope

Methods of Analysis, Sources of Data, and Data Accuracy

Georgia Well-Naming System

Cooperating Agencies

Ground-Water Resources

Permitted Water-Use Data for Georgia during 2003 and Ground-Water-Use Trends for 1999 – 2003

Ground-Water Levels

Surficial Aquifer System

Brunswick Aquifer System

Upper Floridan Aquifer

Lower Floridan Aquifer and Underlying Units in Coastal Georgia

Claiborne and Gordon Aquifers

Clayton Aquifer

Cretaceous Aquifer System

Paleozoic-Rock Aquifers

Crystalline-Rock Aquifers

Ground-Water Quality of the Upper and Lower Floridan Aquifers

City of Albany area

City of Savannah area

City of Brunswick area

Camden County area

Selected Ground-Water Studies in Georgia, 2002–03

Assessment of Ground-Water Flow near the Savannah River Site, Georgia and South Carolina

Assessment of Surficial and Brunswick Aquifer Systems, Coastal Georgia

City of Albany Cooperative Water-Resources Program

City of Brunswick and Glynn County Cooperative Water-Resources Program

Georgia Coastal Sound Science Initiative

Effects of Impoundment of Lake Seminole on Water Resources in the Lower Apalachicola–Chattahoochee–Flint River Basin and in parts of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia

Hydrogeologic Assessment and Simulation of Stream-Aquifer Relations in the Lower Apalachicola–Chattahoochee–Flint River Basin

Ground-Water Information and Project Support

Ground-Water Resources and Hydrogeology of Crystalline-Rock Aquifers in Rockdale County, North-Central Georgia

Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources in the City of Lawrenceville area

Technical Highlights

Hydrogeology, Hydraulic Properties, and Water Quality of the Surficial and Brunswick Aquifer Systems, Eastern Liberty County, Georgia, January–February 2003 by Sherlyn Priest

Hydrogeology, Hydraulic Properties, and Water Quality of the Surficial and Brunswick Aquifer Systems, Northern Camden County, Georgia, October–December 2003 by Sherlyn Priest

Establishment of a Ground- and Surface-Water Network to Monitor the Potential Effects of Ground-Water Development in an Igneous and Metamorphic Rock Aquifer, and Preliminary Data, Lawrenceville, Georgia, 2003 by Phillip N. Albertson

Water-Bearing Characteristics of Sheet Fractures in Rockdale County, Georgi...

Projected Water Use in the Coastal Area of Georgia, 2000–2050

Selected ground-water publications, conferences, and outreach, 2002–03

For additional information, please write to:


U.S. Geological Survey

Georgia Water Science Center

Peachtree Business Center

3039 Amwiler Road, Suite 130

Atlanta, GA 30360-2824



Editing by Patricia L. Nobles

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