B14 Hydrology of the Columbia (Pleistocene) Deposits of Delaware: An Appraisal of a Regional Water-Table Aquifer
The Columbia (Pleistocene) deposits of Delaware form a regional water-table aquifer, which supplies about half the ground water pumped in the State. The aquifer is composed principally of sands which occur as channel fillings in northern Delaware and as a broad sheet across central and southern Delaware. The saturated thickness of the aquifer ranges from a few feet in many parts of northern Delaware to more than 180 feet in southern Delaware. Throughout 1,500 square miles of central and southern Delaware (75 percent of the State's area), the saturated thickness ranges from 25 to 180 feet and the Columbia deposits compose all or nearly all of the water-table aquifer.
B13 Geology, Hydrology, and Geophysics of Columbia Sediments in the Middletown-Odessa Area, Delaware
Columbia sediments in the Middletown-Odessa area are composed of boulders, gravels, sands, silts and clays. These sediments are exposed in four gravel pits where their structures and textures were studied. Subsurface geology was interpreted on the basis of the well-log data from 40 holes drilled in the area of study. Columbia sediments were laid upon a surface made up of the greensands of the Rancocas Formation (Paleocene – Eocene age). The contact between the Rancocas and Columbia Formations is an erosional unconformity.
Sussex County is in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Its relatively flat, featureless topography is characterized by two terrace-like surfaces; the lower one rises from sea level to about 40 feet above sea level, and the higher one rises inland from 40 to about 60 feet above sea level. Peculiar landforms of low relief, broad ovals, similar to the "Carolina bays," and to the "New Jersey basins" are common on the sandy flat divides in Sussex County. Hydrologically, they are sites of much ground-water discharge, by evapotranspiration, from meadow and marsh of lush vegetation.
Northern Delaware, the area above the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in New Castle County, is an area of rapidly growing population and expanding industry. In some places the demand for water has reached or exceeded the capacity of the existing facilities creating apparent water shortages. Many agencies, both public and private, are attempting to alleviate these shortages; studies are being made and reports prepared for immediate action as well as long-term planning. It is the purpose of this report to examine on a long-range basis the water resources of the northern Delaware area. This examination indicates that the surface-water and groundwater resources of the area far exceed the 72.8mgd (million gallons per day) used during 1955. The amount of ground water potentially available in the area is estimated to be at least 30 mgd and the amount of surface water potentially available depends principally on the amount of storage that may be feasible economically. Storage of 3 million gallons per square mile would provide an allowable draft rate of 140 mgd with a deficiency at average intervals of ten years, while storage of 30 million gallons per square mile would raise the allowable draft to 250 mgd, which is about half of the mean annual discharge. In addition to the fresh-water resources, saline water from the Delaware River and its tidal estuaries is available in almost unlimited quantity for cooling, fire fighting, some types of washing, and other purposes.
Well and aquifer coefficients have been determined for a crystalline rock aquifer system that provides part of the water supply of the City of Newark, Delaware. Conventional analytical methods can be used to derive coefficients for crystalline rocks in the Newark area if the limitations of such methods are recognized and if the local hydrologic framework is known.
Field reconnaissance, geologic mapping, and photogeologic interpretations aided collectively in the identification of 30 potential high-yield well sites in the crystalline rocks of Delaware's western Piedmont. Fracture traces discernable on panchromatic and color infrared photography were identified in the study area. Well locations were selected on individual traces and on fracture trace intersections. Six test wells averaging 468.5 feet in depth were drilled at selected sites. Test analyses indicate that production wells at these sites would have a combined potential estimated at 1.0 to 1.1 million gallons per day of water. A thorough knowledge of the hydrogeologic framework is key to successful ground-water exploration and development. Subsurface fracturing is of prime importance in governing the water-yielding properties in the crystalline rocks. The surface traces of vertical or near-vertical zones of subsurface rock fracture were identified and used as an aid in high-capacity well siting.
Beaverdam Branch, the Nanticoke River, Sowbridge Branch, and Stockley Branch drain small basins in the Delaware Coastal Plain that are characterized by similar climate, topography, geology, and land use. Withdrawals of ground water and surface water are very small, there is little urbanization, and other man-made effects, which include minor regulation on Sowbridge Branch and construction of drainage ditches in the Nanticoke basin, probably have had minimal effect on the natural hydrologic regimen. These are virtually natural-flow streams, which, because of similar basin characteristics, have nearly identical rates of evapotranspiration and runoff. During the 10-year period, 1959-68, precipitation averaged 40-42 inches annually, runoff averaged 16-17 inches annually, and evapotranspiration averaged 23-25 inches annually.
The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) is a science-based, public-service-driven Delaware state agency at the University of Delaware (UD) that conducts geologic and hydrologic research, service, and exploration for the benefit of the citizens of the First State. The mission of the DGS is to provide objective earth science information, advice, and service to its stakeholders, the citizens, policy makers, industries, and educational institutions of Delaware.
The ground-water recharge potential map of Sussex County, Delaware, is a compilation of 1:24,000-scale maps of the water-transmitting properties of sediments in the interval between land surface and 20 ft below land surface. Water-transmitting properties are a key factor in determining the amount of water that recharges Delaware’s aquifers and the susceptibility of aquifers used as sources of water supply to contamination from near-surface pollutant sources. The mapping methodology was developed by Andres (1991) for the geologic characteristics of the Atlantic Coastal Plain portion of Delaware. Mapping and methods development started in 1990 and the final maps were completed in 2002 (Andres et al., 2002). Additional information about the map and methodology and a list of cited references are presented on the reverse side. The mapping program was funded by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Geological Survey.
The ground-water recharge potential map of Kent County, Delaware, is a compilation of 1:24,000-scale maps of the water-transmitting properties of sediments in the interval between land surface and 20 ft below land surface. Water-transmitting properties are a key factor in determining the amount of water that recharges Delaware’s aquifers and the susceptibility of aquifers used as sources of water supply to contamination from near-surface pollutant sources. The mapping methodology was developed by Andres (1991) for the geologic characteristics of the Atlantic Coastal Plain portion of Delaware. Mapping and methods development started in 1990 and the final maps were completed in 2002 (Andres et al., 2002). Additional information about the map and methodology and a list of cited references are presented on the reverse side. The mapping program was funded by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Geological Survey.
Geology and hydrology of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Area, Delaware. There are 2 sheets in this series.