Contaminants in groundwater near former Navy bases in southeastern Pennsylvania

Science Center Objects

USGS has investigated groundwater flow and contaminant transport in the vicinity of former Navy bases in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, southeastern Pennsylvania, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy. Additional cooperative support for these investigations has been provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bucks and Montgomery counties, and local government agencies.

Highlights

  • A new report (see "Publications") describes data and modeling to understand regional groundwater-flow paths from possible PFAS source locations at and near Willow Grove and Warminster bases.
  • Industrial chemical contaminants have migrated in fractured-rock aquifers in the vicinity of former Navy bases.
  • Newark Basin aquifers of the Brunswick Group and the Lockatong and Stockton Formations have been used for industrial and drinking-water supply.
  • Field testing characterized the highly heterogeneous and anisotropic strata showing the predominant role of bed-oriented fractures in contaminant migration.
  • Measured water levels in wells were used to construct water-level maps, and aquifer testing revealed high-permeability hydraulic connections between wells.

Recent & Ongoing Studies

    • USGS is conducting borehole geophysical and aquifer-isolation testing to help characterize the area hydrogeology and design groundwater monitoring systems.
    • Groundwater-flow modeling was used to synthesize field-test results using a 3D hydrogeologic framework of dipping shale, mudstone, and sandstone strata.
    • Modeling was used to show how changes in pumping over time have changed flow paths from possible contaminant source areas, providing scientific information for characterization, monitoring, and remediation activities.
    • Areas contributing recharge to groundwater that then discharges to streams or water-supply wells were mapped using groundwater-flow modeling; as groundwater withdrawals in the area have decreased, a higher proportion of local recharge ultimately discharges to streams.
    Reports and Maps

    Former Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Waminster and vicinity

    • Groundwater withdrawals and regional flow paths at and near Willow Grove and Warminster, Pennsylvania—Data compilation and preliminary simulations for conditions in 1999, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2017: USGS Report OFR 2019-1137
    • Interpretation of Borehole Geophysical Logs at Area C, Former Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2007: USGS Report OFR 2008-1207
    • Identification of Water-Bearing Fractures by the use of Geophysical Logs, May to July 1998, Former Naval Air Warfare Center, Bucks County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report OFR 99-215
    • Results of Borehole Geophysical Logging and Hydraulic Tests Conducted in Area D Supply Wells, Former US Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster, Pennsylvania: USGS Report WRIR 98-4129
    • Identification of Water-Bearing Zones by the use of Geophysical Logs and Borehole Television Surveys, Collected February to September 1997, at the Former Naval Air Warfare Center, Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report OFR 98-86
    • Results of Borehole Geophysical Logging and Aquifer-Isolation Tests conducted in the John Wagner and Sons, Inc. Former Production Well, Ivyland, Pennsylvania: USGS Report WRIR 97-4095
    • Geohydrology and distribution of volatile organic compounds in ground water in the Casey Village area, Bucks County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report WRIR 98-4010
    • Altitude and configuration of the potentiometric surface, Casey Village, Warminster and Upper Southampton townships, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, August 3, 1995: USGS Report OFR 95-717

     

    Former Willow Grove Naval Air Station / Joint Reserve Base and vicinity

    • Groundwater withdrawals and regional flow paths at and near Willow Grove and Warminster, Pennsylvania—Data compilation and preliminary simulations for conditions in 1999, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2017: USGS Report OFR 2019-1137
    • Interpretation of Borehole Geophysical Logs, Aquifer-Isolation Tests, and Water-Quality Data for Sites 1, 3, and 5 at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: 2005: USGS Report SIR 2006-5243
    • Interpretation of Borehole Geophysical Logs, Aquifer-Isolation Tests, and Water Quality, Supply Wells 1 and 2, Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report WRIR 2001-4264
    • Hydrogeological investigation at Site 5, Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report WRIR 2001-4263
    • Altitude and Configuration of the Regional Potentiometric Surface, Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base and Vicinity, Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, October 7-8, 1999: USGS Map OFR 2001-149
    • Evaluation of Geophysical Logs, Phase II, at Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report OFR 99-73
    • Evaluation of Geophysical Logs, Phase I, at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: USGS Report OFR 97-631