Hydrogeology and Leachate Plume Delineation at a Closed Municipal Landfill, Norman, Oklahoma

C.J. Becker

Water-Resources Investigations Report 01–4168

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The City of Norman operated a solid-waste municipal landfill at two sites on the Canadian River alluvium in Cleveland County, Oklahoma from 1970 to 1985. The sites, referred to as the west and east cells of the landfill, were originally excavations in the unconsolidated alluvial deposits and were not lined. Analysis of groundwater samples indicate that leachate from the west cell is discharging into an adjacent abandoned river channel, referred to as the slough, and is migrating downgradient in ground water toward the Canadian River. The report describes the hydrogeologic features at the landfill, including the topography of the bedrock, water-level changes in the alluvial aquifer, and delineates the leachate plume using specific conductance data.

The leading edge of the leachate plume along the 35–80 transect extended over 250 meters downgradient of the west cell. The leading edge of the leachate plume along the 40–SOUTH transect had moved about 60 meters from the west cell in a south-southwesterly direction and had not moved past the slough as of 1997. Specific conductance measurements exceeding 7,000 microsiemens per centimeter at site 40 indicate the most concentrated part of the plume remained in the upper half of the alluvial aquifer adjacent to the west cell.

The direction of ground-water flow in the alluvial aquifer surrounding the landfill was generally north-northeast to south-southwest toward the river. However, between the west cell and the slough along the 40–SOUTH transect, head measurements indicate a directional change to the east and southeast toward a channel referred to as the sewage outfall. Near the 35–80 transect, at 0.5 meter below the water table and at the base of the aquifer, the direction of ground-water flow was south-southeast with a gradient of about 30 centimeters per 100 meters.

Generally, ground-water levels in the alluvial aquifer were higher during the winter months and lower during summer months, due to a normal decrease in precipitation and increased evapotranspiration in the summer. Hydrographs show temporal water-level changes in ground water and the slough, indicating a hydrologic connection between the alluvial aquifer and the slough.




Purpose and scope

Site description



Altitude of the bedrock surface

Water levels and precipitation

Ground-water levels


Leachate plume delineation

Data collection sites

Direction of ground-water flow at shallow and deep depths

Vertical and horizontal plume distribution based on specific conductance


References cited


Appendixes 1. Site and well information, bedrock altitude, and selected specific conductance and potentiometric-surface measurements of ground water near a closed municipal landfill, Norman, Oklahoma

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