Hydrogeologic Recharge Settings of the Carbonate-Bedrock Aquifer in Genesee County, Western New York

Science Center Objects

Problem - The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Health (NYSDOH) are concerned about Problem - The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Health (NYSDOH) are concerned about ground-water contamination in the carbonate-bedrock aquifers, especially relating to the inadvertent introduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) an...

 

Problem - The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Health (NYSDOH) are concerned about Problem - The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Health (NYSDOH) are concerned about ground-water contamination in the carbonate-bedrock aquifers, especially relating to the inadvertent introduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and manure to these aquifers. Groundwater can flow very quickly with minimal filtration or adsorption through solution-widened fractures in carbonate-bedrock aquifers. Therefore, large amounts of water and associated contaminants can move long distances, sometimes in short periods of time, and affect large areas. If these underground pathways of groundwater flow are tapped by drinking-water wells, they can pose a significant health threat. Also, these same carbonate units are utilized for their mineral resource and are mined in open pits across the State, and in some instances large volumes of groundwater are required to be removed by dewatering the quarry. Dewatering may lower the water table in areas surrounding it and can trigger nearby water wells to go dry and possibly change the direction of groundwater flow.

Objective - For this pilot study, the carbonate-bedrock aquifer boundary in Genesee County will be mapped, using GIS to depict the aquifer extent, contaminant sites, quarries, mines, karst features, and water-supply wells on topographic base maps at a 1:24,000 scale. The information will be summarized in a series of on-line digital maps and a report describing the methods used to collect and interpret the information with accompanying text and explanation of symbols on each map sheet. Additionally, there will be text describing figures appearing in the report, the methods used to compile and interpret the data that are presented, and a discussion of the map products and county-wide hydrogeology of the carbonate-bedrock aquifers, including a geologic section of the carbonate units in the county.

Benefits - There are many communities and individual home owners, along with industries, that rely on the carbonate-bedrock aquifers throughout western and central NY, and in Genesee County as a water supply. Because there is little regional and local hydrogeologic knowledge of the carbonate-rock units, State and local water-resource managers will benefit from knowledge of the recharge areas and hydrogeologic properties of this regional aquifer system. A better understanding of the location of potential recharge areas in the carbonate-bedrock aquifers would benefit multiple government agencies by providing a framework of hydrogeologic information to help make regulatory decisions, to guide aquifer development for the public and private enterprise, and support economic growth in this upstate NY area.. Groundwater can flow very quickly with minimal filtration or adsorption through solution-widened fractures in carbonate-bedrock aquifers. Therefore, large amounts of water and associated contaminants can move long distances, sometimes in short periods of time, and affect large areas. If these underground pathways of groundwater flow are tapped by drinking-water wells, they can pose a significant health threat. Also, these same carbonate units are utilized for their mineral resource and are mined in open pits across the State, and in some instances large volumes of groundwater are required to be removed by dewatering the quarry. Dewatering may lower the water table in areas surrounding it and can trigger nearby water wells to go dry and possibly change the direction of groundwater flow.

Objective - For this pilot study, the carbonate-bedrock aquifer boundary in Genesee County will be mapped, using GIS to depict the aquifer extent, contaminant sites, quarries, mines, karst features, and water-supply wells on topographic base maps at a 1:24,000 scale. The information will be summarized in a series of on-line digital maps and a report describing the methods used to collect and interpret the information with accompanying text and explanation of symbols on each map sheet. Additionally, there will be text describing figures appearing in the report, the methods used to compile and interpret the data that are presented, and a discussion of the map products and county-wide hydrogeology of the carbonate-bedrock aquifers, including a geologic section of the carbonate units in the county.

Benefits - There are many communities and individual home owners, along with industries, that rely on the carbonate-bedrock aquifers throughout western and central NY, and in Genesee County as a water supply. Because there is little regional and local hydrogeologic knowledge of the carbonate-rock units, State and local water-resource managers will benefit from knowledge of the recharge areas and hydrogeologic properties of this regional aquifer system. A better understanding of the location of potential recharge areas in the carbonate-bedrock aquifers would benefit multiple government agencies by providing a framework of hydrogeologic information to help make regulatory decisions, to guide aquifer development for the public and private enterprise, and support economic growth in this upstate NY area.

Project
Location by County

Genesee County, NY