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

  • The latest report describes borehole geophysical and video logs in 17 open-hole wells in Northampton, Warminster, and Warwick Townships, Bucks County, Pennsylvania during 2017–2019.
  • A recent 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.

     

    Streamflow Monitoring

    USGS provides streamflow information in the study area that can be used in conjunction with water quality data to evaluate the mass of contaminants transported by streams and the relations between concentrations and flow conditions. Other applications may include evaluating groundwater/surface water interactions and transient effects of point discharges from wastewater treatment plants.

     

        Continuous Flow Gages
        USGS
        Station Name
        USGS Station
        Number
        Navy Sample
        Location
        North Branch Neshaminy Creek at Chalfont, PA 01464720  
        Neshaminy Creek near Rushland, PA 01464750 Neshaminy REF 1
        Park Creek (SW-19) at Countyline Road at Warminster, PA 01464899 SW-19
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Valley Road near Neshaminy, PA 01464907 SW-36
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Walton Road near Jacksonville, PA 01464984 SW-65
        Neshaminy Creek at Penns Park, PA 01465200 Neshaminy REF 4
        Neshaminy Creek near Langhorne, PA 01465500  
        Pennypack Creek at Pine Road, Philadelphia, PA 01467042  
        Wissahickon Creek at Fort Washington, PA 01473900  

         

        Discrete Measurements
        USGS
        Station Name
        USGS Station
        Number
        Navy Sample ​​​​​​
        Location
        L Neshaminy Cr bl Bradford Res Dam nr Warminster, PA 01464798 Little Neshaminy REF (SW-29)
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Neshaminy, PA 01464800 SW-30
        Park Cr bl Limekiln Pike at Prospectville, PA 01464881 Park Creek REF1
        Park Creek near Warminster, PA 01464885 SW-10
        UT to Park Cr (SW-3) at Dawes Rd nr Horsham, PA 01464887 SW-03
        UT to Park Cr (SW-64) at Horsham Rd nr Horsham, PA 01464888 SW-64
        UT Park Cr at Keith Valley Rd nr Warminster, PA 014648889 SW-05A
        Unnamed Trib to Park Creek near Warminster, PA 01464890 SW-05
        Park Cr (SW-63) at Willow Grove NAS, PA 01464894 SW-63
        Park Cr (SW-16) bl Keith Vly Rd at Warminster, PA 014648955 SW-16
        Park Cr US from UT (SW-17) at Neshaminy, PA 014648957 SW-17
        Park Creek ab Horsham Wastewater nr Warminster, PA 01464895 SW-14
        UT to Park Cr (SW-26) bl Willow Grove NAS, PA 01464897 SW-26
        UT to Park Creek at Graeme Park nr Warminster,PA 01464898 SW-27
        UT at mouth (SW-28) bl Willow Grove NAS, PA 014648985 SW-28
        Park Cr (SW-19) at Countyline Rd at Warminster, PA 01464899 SW-19
        Park Creek near Warrington, PA 01464900 SW-20
        L Neshaminy Cr (SW-32) at Rt 611 at Neshaminy, PA 014649011 SW-32
         L Neshaminy C bl Dam (SW-73) at Neshaminy, PA 014649013 SW-73
        L Neshaminy Cr(SW-33), Paul Vly Rd nr Neshaminy,PA 014649015 SW-33
        UT to Little Neshaminy Creek at Warminster, PA 01464902 SW-41
        UT ab conf w L Neshaminy C(SW-42) at Warminster,PA 01464903 SW-42
        L Neshaminy Creek at Neshaminy, PA 01464905 SW-34A
        Little Neshaminy Creek trib at Warminster, PA 01464910  
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Bristol Rd at Hartsville, PA 01464915  
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Hartsville, PA 01464920  
        UT Little Neshaminy Creek at Rt 263 at Hartsville, PA 01464921  
        UT to Little Neshaminy Creek at Creek Rd at Hartsville, PA 01464924  
        Little Neshaminy Creek (SW-N05), Warwick Twp near Hartsville, PA 01464925 WAR-SW-N05
        Little Neshaminy Creek (NAWC SW-66) near Traymore, PA 01464926 WAR-SW-66
        UT to Little Neshaminy Creek bl Bristol Rd near Ivyland, PA 014649268 WAR-SW-68
        UT to Little Neshaminy Creek, Camars Drive near Traymore, PA 01464929 WAR-SW-53
        Unnamed Trib to L Neshaminy Creek at Traymore, PA 01464930 SW-67 (WAR-SW-59)
        Little Neshaminy Creek DS from UT (SW-N07) at Traymore, PA 01464935 WAR-SW-N07
        Little Neshaminy Cr Trib at Jacksonville, PA 01464940 WAR-SW-N06
        UT to Little Neshaminy Creek (SW-N10) near Jacksonville, PA 01464987 WAR-SW-N10
        Little Neshaminy Creek at Rushland, PA 01464990 SW-71
        Mill Creek at Swamp Road (REF-2) at Rushland, PA 01465098 Neshaminy REF2 
        Newtown Cr bl Barclay St at Newtown, PA 01465304 Neshaminy REF3
        Iron Works Creek at Richboro, PA  (rating*) 01465460 SW-27
        Pennypack C (SW-48) at Sawyers Way at Horsham, PA 014670302 SW-48
        UT Pennypack C at Horsham Rd at Horsham, PA 014670305 SW-45
        UT to Pennypack C (SW-46) at LogPond Dr at Horsham 014670307 SW-46
        Pennypack Cr (SW-47) at Sawmill Ln nr Horsham, PA 014670308 SW-47
        Pennypack Creek at Horsham, PA 01467031 SW-56
        Southampton Creek near Bryn Athyn, PA 014670339  
        EB UT (SW-69) to Pennypack C at Hatboro, PA 014670349 SW-69
        Middle Br Pennypack Cr Trib at Warminster, PA 01467035 Pennypack REF2
        WB UT (SW-70) to Pennypack C at Hatboro, PA 014670357 SW-70
        Pennypack Crk trib at Hatboro, PA 01467036  
        Unnamed Trib to Pennypack Cr at Willow Grove, PA 01467037 Pennypack REF 1
        Outfall 6A 401203075090901 SW-01
        Outfall 7 401224075093301 SW-52

        *Provisional flow rating curve available to estimate flow from stage

         

        Find these and other surface-water data using the National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper.

        Reports, Datasets, and Maps

         

        Former Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Warminster and vicinity

        • Geophysical and Video Logs of selected wells at and near the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2017–19: USGS Report OFR 2021-1025
        • Water-level data and selected field notes for aquifer-interval-isolation tests at and near the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 2018-19: USGS data release
        • 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
            Biddle Air National Guard Base (active; former Horsham Air Guard Station)

        • 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