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Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5061

In cooperation with the San Antonio Water System

Quality of Groundwater at and near an Aquifer Storage and Recovery Site, Bexar, Atascosa, and Wilson Counties, Texas, June 2004–August 2008

By Cassi L. Otero and Brian L. Petri

Abstract

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The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the San Antonio Water System, did a study during 2004–08 to characterize the quality of native groundwater from the Edwards aquifer and pre- and post-injection water from the Carrizo aquifer at and near an aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) site in Bexar, Atascosa, and Wilson Counties, Texas. Groundwater samples were collected and analyzed for selected physical properties and constituents to characterize the quality of native groundwater from the Edwards aquifer and pre- and post-injection water from the Carrizo aquifer at and near the ASR site. Geochemical and isotope data indicated no substantial changes in major-ion, trace-element, and isotope chemistry occurred as the water from the Edwards aquifer was transferred through a 38-mile pipeline to the aquifer storage and recovery site. The samples collected from the four ASR recovery wells were similar in major-ion and stable isotope chemistry compared to the samples collected from the Edwards aquifer source wells and the ASR injection well. The similarity could indicate that as Edwards aquifer water was injected, it displaced native Carrizo aquifer water, or, alternatively, if mixing of Edwards and Carrizo aquifer waters was occurring, the major-ion and stable isotope signatures for the Carrizo aquifer water might have been obscured by the signatures of the injected Edwards aquifer water. Differences in the dissolved iron and dissolved manganese concentrations indicate that either minor amounts of mixing occurred between the waters from the two aquifers, or as Edwards aquifer water displaced Carrizo aquifer water it dissolved the iron and manganese directly from the Carrizo Sand. Concentrations of radium-226 in the samples collected at the ASR recovery wells were smaller than the concentrations in samples collected from the Edwards aquifer source wells and from the ASR injection well. The smaller radium-226 concentrations in the samples collected from the ASR recovery wells likely indicate some degree of mixing of the two waters occurred rather than continued decay of radium-226 in the injected water. Geochemical and isotope data measured in samples collected in May 2005 from two Carrizo aquifer monitoring wells and in July 2008 from the three ASR production-only wells in the northern section of the ASR site indicate that injected Edwards aquifer water had not migrated to these five sites. Geochemical and isotope data measured in samples collected from Carrizo aquifer wells in 2004, 2005, and 2008 were graphically analyzed to determine if changes in chemistry could be detected. Major-ion, trace element, and isotope chemistry varied spatially in the samples collected from the Carrizo aquifer. With the exception of a few samples, major-ion concentrations measured in samples collected in Carrizo aquifer wells in 2004, 2005, and 2008 were similar. A slightly larger sulfate con­centration and a slightly smaller bicarbonate concentration were measured in samples collected in 2005 and 2008 from well NC1 compared to samples collected at well NC1 in 2004. Larger sodium concentrations and smaller calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and sulfate concentrations were measured in samples collected in 2008 from well WC1 than in samples collected at this well in 2004 and 2005. Larger calcium and magnesium concentrations and a smaller sodium concentration were measured in the samples collected in 2008 at well EC2 compared to samples collected at this well in 2004 and 2005. While in some cases the computed percent differences (compared to concentrations from June 2004) in dissolved iron and dissolved manganese concentrations in 11 wells sampled in the Carrizo aquifer in 2005 and 2008 were quite large, no trends that might have been caused by migration of injected Edwards aquifer water were observed. Because of the natural variation in geochemical data in the Carrizo aquifer and the small data set collected for this study, differences in major-ion and trace element data among the samples collected in 2004, 2005 and 2008 cannot be directly attributed to the ASR site operations. When the data were analyzed graphically, no appreciable differences in isotope concentrations were observed between samples collected in 2004 and 2008 from Carrizo aquifer wells, indicating that the Edwards aquifer source water might not have affected the isotope chemistry of the native Carrizo aquifer water near the sampled Carrizo wells by July 2008.

First posted April 22, 2010

For additional information contact:

Director, Texas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
8027 Exchange Drive
Austin, TX 78754-4733

http://tx.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Otero, C.L., and Petri, B.L., 2010, Quality of groundwater at and near an aquifer storage and recovery site, Bexar, Atascosa, and Wilson Counties, Texas, June 2004–August 2008: U.S. Geological Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5061, 34 p.



Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Methods of Investigation

Quality of Groundwater

Summary

References

Appendix 1. Chemical and isotope data from wells sampled at and near an aquifer storage and recovery site, Bexar, Atascosa, and Wilson Counties, Texas, 2004–08

Appendix 2. Relative percent difference for duplicate chemical and isotope data from wells sampled at and near an aquifer storage and recovery site, Atascosa and Wilson Counties, Texas, 2004–08

Appendix 3. Chemical data in stormwater samples from two surface-water sites near an aquifer storage and recovery site, Atascosa County, Texas, 2004–05

Appendix 4. Bacteria data in stormwater samples from two surface-water sites near an aquifer storage and recovery site, Atascosa County, Texas, 2004–05


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