DGS Well Mc51-01a
DGS Well Hb14-12
Recent and Historical Groundwater Level Data. Data accessible on this page are a subset of DGS holdings. Click on the chart link to display a hydrograph or the data link to download all observations for the period of record.
Thousands of homeowners in Delaware currently rely on individual wells and water systems to provide water. In addition, hundreds of new wells and systems are constructed each year to provide water for those not served by public water systems. Methods used to construct water wells in Delaware are discussed in DGS Information Series No. 2 (Domestic Water Well
Construction). Domestic water systems are described herein.
The storage and movement of ground water depends on the types of rocks and associated
interconnected spaces in which the water occurs. The Piedmont Province in northernmost
Delaware is underlain by crystalline rocks. Because of the massiveness and hardness of such
rocks, they yield little or no interstitial water to wells. Water is stored in and moves through fractures, cracks, and solution cavities. The amount of water available depends on the number and size of openings, and the degree to which they are interconnected. Wells drilled in the Piedmont range from 100 to 400 feet in depth and yields are highly variable over very short distances.
In the Coastal Plain, the rest of the State, ground water is stored and transmitted in spaces between adjacent rock particles. As much as 30 percent of the rock mass may be saturated. Unconsolidated rocks are analogous to a bathtub filled with sand into which water is poured. The Coastal Plain consists of sandy water-bearing units referred to as aquifers interlayered between non-water-bearing units. Wells constructed for domestic use range in depth from 15 feet to 500 feet. Yields are generally much greater than those obtained from the crystalline rocks of the Piedmont. In general, minimum well yields of 3 to 5 gallons per minute are adequate for most domestic water supply systems.
In the same ways as our printed publications, digital data released by the DGS represent the results of original professional research and as such are used by professionals and the public.
Ground-water recharge potential maps show land areas characterized by their abilities to transmit water from land surface to a depth of 20 feet. The basic methods for mapping ground-water recharge potential are presented in Delaware Geological Survey Open File Report No. 34 (Andres, 1991) and were developed specifically for the geohydrologic conditions present in the Coastal Plain of Delaware. The digital data for this layer comes from DGS Digital Data Product DP 02-01, Digital Ground-Water Recharge Potential Map Data For Kent and Sussex Counties, Delaware: A. S. Andres, C. S. Howard, T. A. Keyser, L. T. Wang, 2002.
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.
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.
The results of this investigation of the Columbia aquifer in coastal Sussex County, Delaware, provide some of the data necessary to evaluate the condition of the area's primary source of fresh water. Chemical analyses of water samples from domestic, agricultural, public, and monitoring wells document the effects of past and present land use practices. Groundwater flow paths and flow systems are inferred from flow-net analysis, ground-water chemistry, and isotopic composition.
Water-level records from 19 observation wells in Delaware for the period January 1978 - December 1987 provide the bases for analyses of water-level fluctuations. Water levels in shallow water-table wells generally rise from November to March when recharge exceeds discharge and decline during the warm growing season from May through September. Although water levels in individual water-table wells fluctuated by as much as 11.72 feet during the 10-year period studied, the water-table system remained in a state of dynamic equilibrium and exhibited no significant changes in aquifer storage.
OFR11 Effects of Earthquakes and Earth Tides on Water Levels in Selected Wells in the Piedmont of Delaware
Examination of continuous water-level hydrographs from two artesian observation wells in the Piedmont near Newark, Delaware reveals water-level fluctuations caused by earthquakes and by earth tides. The effects of 14 distant earthquakes with MS (surface wave) magnitudes between 6.7 and 8.0 and MB (body wave) magnitudes between 5.9 and 7.0 (National Earthquake Information Service, 1975-1977) have been recorded over a two-year and ten-month period.
The Delaware Geological Survey conducted a review of existing ground-water quality data collected from shallow (less than 100 feet deep) domestic water-supply wells and small public water-supply wells (serving fewer than 100 residents) to determine the extent to which toxic and carcinogenic compounds are present in the shallow ground water serving domestic water supply wells. These data were generated by several agencies including the Delaware Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Division of Public Health Office of Drinking Water, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture Pesticide Management Program.
The Seaford area geologic mapping project (Andres and Ramsey, 1995) was conducted by Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) staff and focused on the Seaford East (SEE) and Delaware portion of the Seaford West (SEW) quadrangles (Fig. 1). Data evaluated in support of mapping from these quadrangles and surrounding areas are documented in this report.
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.
It is now possible to evaluate some of the earlier assessments and offer tentative conclusions about the hydrocarbon resource potential of the Baltimore Canyon trough, a major northeast-southwest trending sedimentary basin off the Mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. For this purpose the Delaware Geological Survey has examined more than 2,500 miles (4,022 km) of seismic reflection profiles, the results of some offshore magnetic and gravity surveys, the results of the COST B-2 well, and the nonproprietary results through 1978 of exploratory drilling by the petroleum industry on federal leases.
Water-level records from 13 observation wells in Delaware for the period July, 1966 - December, 1977 provide the bases for the analyses of water-level fluctuations. Water levels in shallow water-table wells generally rise from November to March, when recharge exceeds discharge, and decline during the warm growing season from May through September. Although water-levels in individual wells changed by as much as 11.17 feet during the 11.5 year period studied, the water-table system remained in a state of dynamic equilibrium and exhibited no permanent changes in aquifer storage. However, the water levels in three artesian observation wells have declined during the same 11.5 year period in response to high demands for ground water while levels in the other two artesian wells have risen slightly due to a reduction in ground-water discharge, or increase in ground-water recharge, or both. Nevertheless during the past several decades, water levels have declined, cones of depression have enlarged, and reductions in aquifer storage, have occurred in the Potomac aquifer in central and southeastern New Castle County, and the Piney Point and Cheswold aquifers in the Dover-Dover Air Force Base area. Therefore, future groundwater development in the artesian aquifers must be carefully planned and managed.
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.
Emphasis is placed herein on the years of Dr. Groot's leadership of the Survey. The remarkable work of James C. Booth in the last century is acknowledged but has elsewhere been entered in history. Some continuing activities of the Survey after 1969 are noted together with comments of an experienced observer; this current period may someday receive the attention of a recorder having the enhanced perspective of time.