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Site content related to keyword: "pollution"

Journal article "Hydrogeologic controls on groundwater discharge and nitrogen loads in a coastal watershed"

A recently released article “Hydrogeologic controls on groundwater discharge and nitrogen loads in a coastal watershed” by the Journal of Hydrology details the results of a joint groundwater simulation and water quality sampling study that focused on submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to Indian River and Rehoboth Bays, part of Delaware Inland Bays.

B21D Using Numerical Models to Assess a Rapid Infiltration Basin System (RIBS), Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

B21D Using Numerical Models to Assess a Rapid Infiltration Basin System (Ribs), Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

The long-term performance of rapid infiltration basin systems (RIBS) and their potential impacts on the receiving environment have been previously unknown for Delaware. A variety of field experiments were conducted to characterize the geology and hydrogeology of a RIBS facility that has been in operation for more than 20 years at Cape Henlopen State Park. Pairs of standard monitoring wells and short-screened multi-level wells were used to evaluate the significance of small-scale vertical variability in water quality. A three-dimensional transient groundwater flow and contaminant transport model was constructed to simulate the groundwater mounding and the movements of nitrate-nitrogen (NO3--N) and orthophosphorus (OP) in the groundwater. In the numerical model, NO3--N was treated as a reactive species and denitrification was simulated with a first-order degradation rate constant. The major mechanism affecting OP transport in groundwater is sorption/desorption, which was simulated using a linear sorption isotherm. Simulated concentrations reasonably fit observed concentrations of NO3--N and OP in both standard wells and multi-level wells. The calibrated model predicts that with a denitrification rate of 0.006/day and a distribution coefficient of 4×10-7 L/mg, 63 percent of the reduction in the mass of NO3--N is attributable to denitrification, and more than 99 percent of OP is detained in the aquifer due to sorption on subsurface solids. However, the long-term operation of RIBS has led to a reduction of the sorption capacity of subsurface solids for phosphorous, resulting in significant concentrations of OP in groundwater adjacent to RIBS.

Delaware Geological Survey Issues Report on Groundwater Monitoring and Water-Quality Impacts of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems

The Delaware Geological Survey released a new technical report entitled “Groundwater Quality and Monitoring of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems, Theory and Field Experiments at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware” which was prepared by A. Scott Andres and Changming He of the Delaware Geological Survey, Edward Walther of the South Water Management District, Florida, Müserref Türkmen of the Izmir Water and Sewerage Administration, Turkey, and Anastasia Chirnside and William Ritter of the University of Delaware. DGS Bulletin 21C documents the results of a detailed study of groundwater quality at a rapid infiltration basin system.

B21C Groundwater Quality and Monitoring of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems (RIBS), Theory and Field Experiments at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

B21C Groundwater Quality and Monitoring of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems (RIBS), Theory and Field Experiments at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

A rapid infiltration basin system (RIBS) consists of several simple and relatively standard technologies; collection and conveyance of wastewater, treatment, and discharge to an unlined excavated or constructed basin. By design, the effluent quickly infiltrates through the unsaturated or vadose zone to the water table. During infiltration, some contaminants may be treated by biological and/or geochemical processes and diluted by dispersion and diffusion. The combination of contaminant attenuation and dilution processes that may occur during infiltration and flow through the aquifer are termed soil-aquifer-treatment, or SAT. In the past decade, RIBS have been proposed more frequently for use in Delaware because they stop the direct discharge of treated effluent to surface water, can accommodate significant flow volumes typical of residential subdivisions, yet require much less land than options such as spray irrigation or sub-surface disposal systems.

Decades of research on the shallow Columbia aquifer of the Delmarva Peninsula have clearly identified the high susceptibility of the aquifer from land- and water-use practices, and the processes that control the fate and transport of contaminants from their origin at or near land surface to points of discharge in creeks, estuaries, and wells. The risk of aquifer contamination is great because it is highly permeable, has little organic matter in the aquifer matrix, and the depth to groundwater is very commonly less than 10 ft below land surface. USEPA guidance documents and several engineering texts that cover RIBS design clearly identify these same factors as increasing risk for groundwater contamination but do not provide much information on means to monitor and mitigate those risks. Further, design criteria are based on a small group of experiments conducted in the 1970s prior to development of current understanding of the processes that control groundwater contaminant transport.

Field and laboratory experiments to characterize the physical, chemical, and biological controls and processes associated with the rapid infiltration of treated sewage effluent through infiltration beds and the vadose zone were undertaken at a RIBS located at Cape Henlopen State Park (CHSP), Delaware. Field experiments to understand the geochemical effects of the long-term operation of a RIBS on ground and surface waters, and to evaluate monitoring systems were also conducted at the site. The CHSP RIBS has been in operation since the early 1980s.

Significant concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus occur in groundwater from the point of effluent entry at the water table to distances greater than 150 ft from the infiltration beds. The high hydraulic, nitrogen (N), phosporus (P), and organic loading rates associated with the operation of RIBS overwhelm natural attenuation (e.g., sorption and precipitation) processes. Data are not sufficient to indicate whether denitrification is occurring. If there is denitrification, the rate is insufficient to remediate RIBS effluent at the site — despite a 25-ft thick vadose zone, an effluent with enough organic carbon to facilitate anaerobic conditions that permit abiotic denitrification and feed microorganism-driven denitrification processes, and hypoxic to anoxic groundwater.

Significant horizontal and vertical variability of contaminant concentrations were observed within the portion of the aquifer most impacted by effluent disposal. Despite the relatively small spatial extent of the disposal area in our study area, identification of the preferential flow zone and characterization of the vertical and temporal variability in the concentrations of contaminants required a multi-phase subsurface investigation program that included an analysis of data from samples collected at bi-monthly intervals from dozens of monitoring points and high frequency temperature monitoring in several wells. A well-designed monitoring system should be based on experimentally determined site specific evidence collected under conditions that duplicate the flow rates that are expected during full-scale operation of the RIBS. Conservative tracers should be used to determine if the monitoring wells are in locations that intercept flow from the infiltration beds.

B21A Evaluation of Wastewater Treatment Options Used in Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems (RIBS)

This technical report evaluates several aspects of potential environmental risks, use, and regulation of rapid infiltration basin systems (RIBS) in Delaware. The report reviews and compares regulations regarding RIBS from Delaware, Florida,North Carolina, New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Influent and effluent samples from ten advanced wastewater treatment systems that operate in conjunction with RIBS were collected and analyzed. Effluent data obtained from the Non-Hazardous Waste Sites database provided by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and other states were assessed. Performance evaluations of the treatment processes that discharge to RIBS were ascertained from the exceedance of concentrations of regulated pollutants in effluent samples.

Although RIBS technology has the potential to be a beneficial alternative to surface discharge and a means for groundwater recharge, this technology is appropriate only if the adverse environmental impacts are minimized. Overall operation and maintenance practices play important roles in the performance of treatment plants. The most common and serious problems associated with treatment plants located in Delaware and neighboring states are high nutrient and pathogen concentrations in the effluent. In Delaware, the discharge of poorly treated effluent to RIBS creates a risk of nutrient and pathogen contamination in the receiving water body, the shallow Columbia aquifer. Years of application of treated effluent with high nutrient, pathogen, and organic content to RIBS will result in significant risks for the environment and public health.

Protecting tidal wetlands - UD scientists study tidal flow, sediment movement in Kent salt marsh

Three University of Delaware scientists are studying tidal water flow and sediment movement in a Kent County salt marsh to better understand changes to the marsh ecosystem due to a rising sea level.

DNREC raises capital request - Sixfold hike includes beach, water projects

More money would go to projects that make Delaware cleaner, greener and safer under a mostly no-growth budget outlined Monday by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Agency Secretary Collin P. O'Mara asked the Office of Management and Budget for about $35.2 million in general funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1, with health care costs accounting for most of the nearly $2 million increase from the current year.

World-renowned environmental scientists to speak at DENIN opening on October 23, 2009

Francois Morel, Albert G. Blanke Jr. Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, and William H. Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, will present scientific talks during the official launch of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall in Newark, Del., on Friday, Oct. 23.

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Nanticoke Watershed Water-Quality Database (Data Product No. 05-02)

Nanticoke River

The Nanticoke Watershed Water-Quality Database (NWWWQDB) is used to
store, manage, and retrieve water-quality data generated by the “Nanticoke River
Watershed” project. The database contains information on sampling stations, samples,
and field and laboratory analyses, queries to extract and analyze data, forms to input and
edit data, a main menu to navigate to forms and specific queries, and a few formatted
report templates. The database is in Microsoft Access 2003 format. Table, field, and table
relationship metadata are stored in the database as properties of those objects. The
software's metadata reporting options can be used to view the information.

Delaware Inland Bays Tributary Total Maximum Daily Load Water-Quality Database (Data Product No. 02-02)

Delaware Inland Bays Sampling Locations

The Delaware Inland Bays Water-Quality Database (DIBWQDB) is used to store,
manage, and retrieve water-quality data generated by the “Nutrient Inputs as a Stressor
and Net Nutrient Flux as an Indicator of Stress Response in Delawares’ Inland Bays
Ecosystem” (CISNet) and the “Inland Bays Tributary Total Maximum Daily Load”
(IBTMDL) projects. It contains information on sampling stations, samples, and field and
laboratory analyses, queries to extract and analyze data, forms to input and edit data, a
main menu to navigate to forms and specific queries, and a few formatted report
templates. The database is in Microsoft Access 2003 format. Table, field, and table
relationship metadata are stored in the database as properties of those objects. The
software's metadata reporting options can be used to view the information.

Groundwater affected by development, scientists say

Groundwater is both the source of drinking water and the method of disposing of wastewater, said Scott Andres, hydrogeologist with the Delaware Geological Survey. There is plenty of water to be had, he said, but the challenge is protecting public and environmental health.

RI74 Locating Ground-Water Discharge Areas in Rehoboth and Indian River Bays and Indian River, Delaware Using Landsat 7 Imagery

RI74 Locating Ground-Water Discharge Areas in Rehoboth and Indian River Bays and Indian River, Delaware Using Landsat 7 Imagery

Delaware’s Inland Bays in southeastern Sussex County are valuable natural resources that have been experiencing environmental degradation since the late 1960s. Stresses on the water resource include land use practices, modifications of surface drainage, ground-water pumping, and wastewater disposal. One of the primary environmental problems in the Inland Bays is nutrient over-enrichment. Nitrogen and phosphorous loads are delivered to the bays by ground water, surface water, and air. Nitrogen loading from ground-water discharge is one of the most difficult to quantify; therefore, locating these discharge areas is a critical step toward mitigating this load to the bays. Landsat 7 imagery was used to identify ground-water discharge areas in Indian River and Rehoboth and Indian River bays in Sussex County, Delaware. Panchromatic, near-infrared, and thermal bands were used to identify ice patterns and temperature differences in the surface water, which are indicative of ground-water discharge. Defining a shoreline specific to each image was critical in order to eliminate areas of the bays that were not representative of open water. Atmospheric correction was not necessary due to low humidity conditions during image acquisition. Ground-water discharge locations were identified on the north shore of Rehoboth Bay (west of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal), Herring and Guinea creeks, the north shore of Indian River, and the north shore of Indian River Bay near Oak Orchard.

RI65 Wellhead Protection Area Delineations for the Lewes-Rehoboth Beach Area, Delaware

RI65 Wellhead Protection Area Delineations for the Lewes-Rehoboth Beach Area, Delaware

Water supply in the rapidly developing Lewes and Rehoboth Beach areas of coastal Sussex County in Delaware is provided by more than 80 individual public water wells and hundreds of domestic wells. Significant concerns exist about the future viability of the ground-water resource in light of contamination threats and loss of recharge areas. As part of Delaware's Source Water and Assessment Protection Program, wellhead protection areas (WHPAs) were delineated for the 15 largest public supply wells operated by three public water systems. The WHPAs are derived from analysis of results of dozens of steady-state ground-water flow simulations. The simulations were performed with a Visual MODFLOW-based 6-layer, 315,600-node model coupled with GIS-based data on land cover, ground-water recharge and resource potentials, and other base maps and aerial imagery. Because the model was operated under steady-state conditions, long-term average pumping rates were used in the model. The flow model includes four boundary types (constant head, constant flux, head-dependant flux, and no flow), with layers that represent the complex hydrogeologic conditions based on aquifer characterizations. The model is calibrated to within a 10% normalized root mean squared error of the observed water table.

RI61 The Occurrence and Distribution of Several Agricultural Pesticides in Delaware’s Shallow Ground Water

RI61 The Occurrence and Distribution of Several Agricultural Pesticides in Delaware’s Shallow Ground Water

In June 1996, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed a regulation to require individual states to develop Pesticide Management Plans (PMPs) to protect their ground-water resources from pesticide contamination. The USEPA designated the predominantly agricultural pesticides atrazine, alachlor, cyanazine, metolachlor, and simazine as the first five that would require a PMP.

RI52 Quality and Geochemistry of Ground Water in Southern New Castle County, Delaware

RI52 Quality and Geochemistry of Ground Water in Southern New Castle County, Delaware

Water samples were collected from 63 wells in southern New Castle County to assess the occurrence and distribution of dissolved inorganic chemicals in ground water. Rapid growth is projected for the study area, and suitable sources of potable drinking water will need to be developed. The growth in the study area could also result in degradation of water quality. This report documents water quality during 1991-92 and provides evidence for the major geochemical processes that control the water quality.

RI51 Herbicides in Shallow Ground Water at Two Agricultural Sites in Delaware

RI51 Herbicides in Shallow Ground Water at Two Agricultural Sites in Delaware

Several common herbicides used on corn and soybeans were detected in ground water at two agricultural sites in Delaware as part of a study of the distribution of herbicides in shallow ground water and the environmental factors affecting their occurrence.

RI46 Shallow Subsurface Temperatures at Selected Locations in Delaware

RI46 Shallow Subsurface Temperatures at Selected Locations in Delaware

Subsurface temperatures were measured in instrumented boreholes for about one and one-half years at depths down to 10 feet below land surface at four locations in the State. In New Castle County, temperatures were measured periodically in the field about twice a month at three sites, and, in Sussex County, they were automatically recorded every 15 minutes at one site. The depths of interest are generally in the unsaturated zone and are subject to both daily temperature fluctuations and longer seasonal changes.

RI45 Effects of Agricultural Practices and Septic-System Effluent on the Quality of Water in the Unconfined Aquifer in Parts of Eastern Sussex County, Delaware

RI45 Effects of Agricultural Practices and Septic-System Effluent on the Quality of Water in the Unconfined Aquifer in Parts of Eastern Sussex County, Delaware

The unconfined aquifer is a major source of water supply in eastern Sussex County, Delaware. It also is an important source of water for surface-water bodies and deeper, confined aquifers. The aquifer consists mainly of permeable sand and gravel; its shallow water table is susceptible to contamination by nitrate and other chemical constituents associated with agricultural practices and effluent from septic systems.

Evaluation of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems (RIBS)

Diagram of a Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems (RIBS)
Project Contact(s):

This study has evaluated pre-treatment and physical and geochemical components of rapid infiltration basin systems (RIBS). The project was begun in 2008 with an evaluation of performance of treatment plants associated with RIBS in Delaware, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New Jersey. Field and simulation evaluations of a RIBS located at Cape Henlopen State Park were completed in 2011. Simulation studies of infiltration and nitrogen cycling in the vadose zone were completed in early 2013. Multiple conference presentations, reports, and articles have been released.