Preliminary evaluation of the basal sandstone in Tennessee for receiving injected wastes

U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4303

by Dolores Mulderink and M.W. Bradley

This report is available as a pdf below


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is authorized, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, to administer the Underground Injection Control program. This program allows for the regulation of deep-well disposal of wastes and establishes criteria to protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination.

The basal sandstone in Tennessee occurs west of the Valley and Ridge province at depths of 5,000 to 9,000 feet below land surface. The basal sandstone consists of about 30 to 750 feet of Cambrian sandstone overlying the crystalline basement complex. The basal sandstone is overlain and confined by shale and carbonate rocks of the Middle and Upper Cambrian Conasauga Group.

Hydrologic data for the basal sandstone, available from only three sites (four wells) in Tennessee, indicate that the basal sandstone generally has low porosity and permeability with a few zones having enough permeability to accept injected fluids. Limited water-quality data indicate the basal sandstone contains water with dissolved-solids concentrations exceeding 10,000 milligrams per liter. Since the dissolved-solids concentrations exceed 10,000 milligrams per liter, the basal sandstone is not classified as an underground source of drinking water according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

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