The increasing population of the State of Delaware is placing severe strains on the quality of ground water in the water-table aquifer by disposing of septic-tank effluent in the soil. At the same time the water resources of this aquifer are being used in greater amounts. The permeable water-table aquifer, containing reserves of 331 million gallons per day, is very vulnerable to contamination by objectionable or toxic fluids and dissolved substances placed on or in the soil.
Information on ground-water quality in Delaware has become critical for three reasons: (1) increased water demand, (2) need for a better understanding of ground-water flow patterns, (3) need for a "base" against which future quality changes can be measured. Analyses of about 150 water quality samples from wells show that Delaware's fresh ground waters are suitable for most purposes. High iron content may occur, however, in wells tapping the Columbia and the Potomac formations. Overall, total dissolved solids in Delaware aquifers are relatively low except in the Cheswold and Frederica aquifers (Miocene), and possibly parts of the Piney Point Formation (Eocene).
Forty-eight samples of Delaware clays were collected and tested jointly by the Delaware Geological Survey and the U. S. Bureau of Mines. Clays potentially useful for face brick are common. The nonmarine Cretaceous Potomac Formation is a potential economic clay at virtually all locations sampled. Some Miocene and Pleistocene clays are also possibilities for brick clays. Other Potomac clays are potential sources for glazed tile, sewer pipe, refractory brick, and stoneware. Coastal marsh clays, frequently containing much organic debris, are potential source material for lightweight aggregate used in lightweight, strong concrete products. Lightweight aggregate has the potential for augmenting dwindling reserves of crushed stone and gravel aggregate.
A geospatial data file containing all polygons representing the areal extent of 7.5-minute topographic quadrangles within and surrounding Delaware.
This report deals with fluctuations in nine observation wells during the period 1960 - 1966. These wells are part of a state-wide ground-water monitoring network and are located in areas of little or no pumping. Eight of the wells respond to water-table conditions; the ninth well appears to reflect artesian conditions.
Although precipitation throughout Delaware was generally below average during the period covered by this report, annual average water levels declined very little in the wells reported on here. There is some evidence, however, for a lowering of water-table levels by three to four feet during the period 1960 - 1962.
At present, Delaware has an abundance of water for the foreseeable future, but is already faced with water problems in some municipalities. These can only be resolved satisfactorily through complete evaluation of the State's water resources and the establishment of a coordinated program of water management.
The core of much DGS work culminates in the release of data and findings in official DGS publications, including Open File Reports, Reports of Investigations, Geologic Maps, Hydrologic Maps, and Bulletins.