Hydrogeolgy and preliminary assessment of the potential for contamination of the Memphis aquifer in the Memphis area, Tennessee

U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Investigations Report 90-4092

by William S. Parks

This report is available as a pdf below


Detailed maps of the thickness of the Jackson-upper Claiborne confining unit and the altitude of the water table in the alluvium and fluvial deposits provide much new information concerning areas where downward leakage is or may be occurring from the water-table aquifers to the Memphis aquifer in the Memphis area. A detailed map of the altitude of the potentiometric surface of the Memphis aquifer and the locations of 44 sites where contaminants have been detected in the water-table aquifers indicate that many of these sites are located in areas where the direction of ground-water flow in the Memphis aquifer is toward municipal well fields. Consequently, if contaminants enter the Memphis aquifer, a hydraulic potential exists for their transport to those wellfields.

Recently (1986-88), volatile organic compounds were detected in water from five municipal wells screened in the Memphis aquifer - three in the Allen well field of the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division at Memphis and two in the west well field at Collierville. Concentrations of seven volatile organic compounds totaled about 11 micrograms per liter in a sample from one well in the Allen wellfield at Memphis, and the concentration of one compound was 25 micrograms per liter in a sample from one well at Collierville. These are the first reported occurrences of synthetic organic compounds in the Memphis aquifer andprove that the principal aquifer in the Memphis area is vulnerable to contamination.

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