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

 

In cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Hydrogeology and Simulation of Regional Ground-Water-Level Declines in Monroe County, Michigan

U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4312

By Howard W. Reeves, Kirsten V. Wright, and J. R. Nicholas


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Abstract

Observed ground-water-level declines from 1991 to 2003 in northern Monroe County, Michigan, are consistent with increased ground-water demands in the region. In 1991, the estimated ground-water use in the county was 20 million gallons per day, and 80 percent of this total was from quarry dewatering. In 2001, the estimated ground-water use in the county was 30 million gallons per day, and 75 percent of this total was from quarry dewatering.

 

Prior to approximately 1990, the ground-water demands were met by capturing natural discharge from the area and by inducing leakage through glacial deposits that cover the bedrock aquifer. Increased ground-water demand after 1990 led to declines in ground-water level as the system moves toward a new steady-state. Much of the available natural discharge from the bedrock aquifer had been captured by the 1991 conditions, and the response to additional withdrawals resulted in the observed widespread decline in water levels.

 

The causes of the observed declines were explored through the use of a regional ground-water-flow model. The model area includes portions of Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne Counties in Michigan, and portions of Fulton, Henry, and Lucas Counties in Ohio. Factors, including lowered water-table elevations because of below average precipitation during the time period (1991 - 2001) and reduction in water supply to the bedrock aquifer because of land-use changes, were found to affect the regional system, but these factors did not explain the regional decline. Potential ground-water capture for the bedrock aquifer in Monroe County is limited by the low hydraulic conductivity of the overlying glacial deposits and shales and the presence of dense saline water within the bedrock as it dips into the Michigan Basin to the west and north of the county. Hydrogeologic features of the bedrock and the overlying glacial deposits were included in the model design. An important step of characterizing the bedrock aquifer was the determination of inputs and outputs of wateróleakage from glacial deposits and flows across model boundaries. The imposed demands on the groundwater system create additional discharge from the bedrock aquifer, and this discharge is documented by records and estimates of water use including: residential and industrial use, irrigation, and quarry dewatering.

 

Hydrologic characterization of Monroe County and surrounding areas was used to determine the model boundaries and inputs within the ground-water model. MODFLOW-2000 was the computer model used to simulate ground-water flow. Predevelopment, 1991, and 2001 conditions were simulated with the model. The predevelopment model did not include modern water use and was compared to information from early settlement of the county. The 1991 steady-state model included modern demands on the ground-water system and was based on a significant amount of data collected for this and previous studies. The predevelopment and 1991 simulations were used to calibrate the numerical model. The simulation of 2001 conditions was based on recent data and explored the potential ground-water levels if the current conditions persist. Model results indicate that the ground-water level will stabilize in the county near current levels if the demands imposed during 2001 are held constant.


Citation:

Reeves, Howard W., Kirsten V. Wright, and J. R. Nicholas, 2004, Hydrogeology and Simulation of Regional Ground-Water-Level Declines in Monroe County, Michigan: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4312, 72 p. Date Posted: May 24, 2007:
[https://pubs.water.usgs.gov/wri034312/]

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and scope

Description of the study area

Previous studies

Acknowledgment

Hydrogeology

Glacial deposits

Hydraulic properties

Water-level changes

Recharge

Discharge

Bedrock aquifer

Hydraulic properties

Water-level changes

Leakage

Discharge

Water use

Public, self-supplied, and industrial water use

Agricultural irrigation

Golf-course irrigation

Quarry dewatering

Simulation of ground-water flow

Numerical model

Map projection and units used

Relation between numerical and conceptual models

Time periods simulated

Model calibration

Exploration of ground-water-level declines

Ground-water capture

2001 simulations

Sensitivity to imposed boundaries

Sensitivity to bedrock hydrogeologic parameters

Water-level declines

Model limitations

Summary and conclusions

References cited

Appendix A. Water-level data

Appendix B. Monroe County statistics summary

Appendix C. WelLogic analysis

 

Figures

1-4. Maps showing:

1. Study area in Monroe County and surrounding counties in Michigan and Ohio

2. U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations and monitoring wells in Monroe County, Michigan

3. Generalized glacial deposit map for study area, modified from Ferrand and Bell (1982) and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (2000b)

4. Estimated log(Kveff) for Monroe County, Michigan, based on thickness and lithology of units reported in the WelLogic database. Shaded areas are glacial deposits mapped by Ferrand and Bell (1982)

5. Graph showing yearly difference in annual precipitation from long-term average at the Monroe County Waterworks Monroe County, Michigan, 1970-2002

 

6-8. Maps showing:

6. Bedrock units for Monroe County, Michigan and regional bedrock setting fromMilstein (1987), Indiana Geological Survey (2002), Ohio Department of Natural Resources (2000a

7. Potentiometric surface for bedrock aquifer, 1993, for Monroe County, Michigan, (from Nicholas and others 1996)

8. Time sequence of wells open to the bedrock aquifer showing confined (water level at least one foot above top of bedrock) or unconfined (water level at least one foot below top of bedrock) conditions, Monroe County, Michigan, 1960 to 2002 (data from WelLogic database)

 

9, 10. Graphs showing:

9. Hydrograph for U.S. Geological Survey observation well GLTO which is open to the bedrock aquifer, Monroe County, Michigan, 1978-2003. The change in amplitude of yearly response indicates a change from locally confined to locally unconfined conditions

10. Trend in reported depth to ground water for Exeter Township, Monroe County, Michigan, data from the WelLogic database. Note the general decline in water level from 1990 to 2002

 

11-14. Maps showing:

11. Estimated and observed ground-water-level declines, Monroe County, Michigan, 1991-2001

12. Potentiometric surface for bedrock aquifer, 1988-1991, developed from WelLogic ground-water-level records and loess function, Monroe County, Michigan

13. Estimated difference in potentiometric surface in bedrock aquifer in Monroe County, Michigan based on WelLogic ground-water levels and loess function. ((a) (1988-1991) - (1964-1967) surfaces and (b) (2000-2003) - (1964-1967) surfaces.)

14. Estimated effective vertical hydraulic conductivity and estimated change in potentiometric surface from WelLogic data base and loess function (2000-2003) - (1967-1964). Area of small change corresponds to area where the effective vertical hydraulic conductivity is greatest, Monroe County, Michigan

 

15-18. Graphs showing:

15. Hydrograph of Lake Erie from the CO-OPS National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) database at Fermi Power Station (station number 9063090), Monroe County, Michigan. Lake Erie level was both above and below long-term average between 1991-2001 when ground-water levels were observed to decline

16. Reported London Quarry discharge and computed flow at the N.B. Amos Palmer Drain streamflow-gaging station, Monroe County, Michigan. Also shown are precipitation values recorded at the Dundee Farms weather station (Michigan Automated Weather Network, Michigan State University)

17. Reported discharge from London Quarry and computed discharge at the N.B. Amos Palmer Drain gage, Monroe County, Michigan

18. Reported quarry discharges, Monroe County, Michigan, 2002-2003. Values where gaged by U.S. Geological Survey at streams receiving discharge in July, 2003 also are shown

 

19-22. Maps showing:

19. Model area and boundary conditions in the study area, Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area

20. Map of major ground-water withdrawals within the study area, Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area

21. Simulated hydraulic heads for 1991 trial for study area Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area

22. Distribution of residuals (observed - simulated) for water levels in the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area) for 1991 final parameters

 

23. Simulated and observed hydraulic heads for bedrock aquifer wells in the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area). U.S. Geological Survey G wells and data from Breen and Dumouchelle (1990) are distinguished from WelLogic water-well values

24. Map showing simulated predevelopment hydraulic heads for the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area) using calibrated values determined using 1991 simulation and constrained by predevelopment conditions

 

25, 26. Graphs showing:

25. Weighted residuals and weighted simulated values for the model of the study area (Monroe County Michigan and surrounding area). Residuals are reasonably scattered positive and negative and they do not show definite trends as the weighted simulated value changes

26. Composite-scaled sensitivities for all parameters used to define the model of study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area)

 

29-31. Maps showing:

27. Simulated potential flux direction between glacial deposits and bedrock aquifer for the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area) under predevelopment conditions

28. Simulated potential flux direction between glacial deposits and bedrock aquifer for the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area) under 1991 conditions

29. 2001 steady-state simulated hydraulic heads using 1991 calibrated parameters of the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area)

30. Difference between simulated hydraulic heads, 1991-2001 for the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area)

31. Simulated effect on 2001 hydraulic heads because of a 3.28-foot lowering of the water table in the glacial deposits across the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area)

 

32-35. Graphs showing:

32. Change in hydraulic head for 2001 simulation at (a) G2 and (b) G7 from varying model parameters

33. Change in flux from 2001 calibrated simulations because of changes in leakage from the glacial deposits in the study area for the (a) Lacustrine Clay, (b) Lacustrine Sand and (c) Moraine

34. Change in hydraulic head for 1991 simulation at (a) G2, (b) G7, (c) G13 from varying model parameters

34a. Change in hydraulic head for 1991 simulation at (d) G33, and (e) GLTO from varying model parameters

35. Drawdown near Hanson Quarry and radius of influence line

 

36-37. Maps showing:

36. Simulated recovery from 2001 conditions if quarry discharges are removed for the study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area)

37. Simulated recovery for study area (Monroe County, Michigan and surrounding area) under 2001 steady-state conditions if London Quarry discharge is removed

 

Tables:

1. Self-supplied fresh ground-water use in Monroe County, Michigan

2. Community public-water supplies in study area, January 2003

3. Reported self-supplied industrial and quarry ground-water use in the Ohio portion of the study area

4. Estimated agricultural irrigation ground-water use in Monroe County, Michigan

5. Time periods simulated in the ground-water flow model of the Monroe County regional study

6. Parameters used in numerical model with parameter type and final calibrated values

7. Quarry and spring discharges used in calibration of 1991 regional model of the study area and final simulated flows

8. Fluxes from calibrated models and assessment of changes from virgin rates of recharge and discharge for the study area

9. Simulated and reported quarry discharges for the 2001 steady-state simulation

10. Simulation results from 2001 steady-state simulation with observed 2001 values and residuals for U.S. Geological Survey monitoring wells in the study area

11. Fluxes from calibrated model and 2001 simulation summarizing ground-water capture


For additional information, contact:

U.S. Geological Survey
Michigan Water Science Center
6520 Mercantile Way, Suite 5
Lansing, MI 48911-5991
GS-W-MIlns_DC@usgs.gov
or visit our Web site at:
http://mi.water.usgs.gov

 



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