Brunswick County, NC Groundwater-Level Monitoring

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Since 2000, the population of Brunswick County has grown by more than 50%. A growth of this magnitude places significant stress on Brunswick County’s natural resources. County planners have recognized the potential consequences of land use changes associated with growth and the resulting increased demand on water resources by consolidating the many public utility providers into one organization and embarking on an aggressive utility expansion plan. To address concerns about the availability of groundwater in the Brunswick County area, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Brunswick County initiated a cooperative program in 1998 to monitor aquifer water-levels and chloride concentrations. 

Figure 1. Map of Brunswick County, NC groundwater sampling sites

Figure 1. Map of Brunswick County, NC groundwater sampling sites

(Public domain.)

Background:

Since 2000, the population of Brunswick County has grown by more than 50%, over two times the 22% growth experienced by the State of North Carolina as a whole (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). A growth of this magnitude places significant stress on Brunswick County’s natural resources. County planners have recognized the potential consequences of land use changes associated with growth and the resulting increased demand on water resources by consolidating the many public utility providers into one organization and embarking on an aggressive utility expansion plan. In order to make informed water resource planning decisions, County officials need up-to-date water-resource information. To address concerns about the availability of groundwater in the Brunswick County area, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Brunswick County initiated a cooperative program in 1998 to monitor aquifer water-levels and chloride concentrations.

Objective:

The principal study objective is to continue water-level and -quality data collection at the existing monitoring network to establish a long-term data set that can be used to monitor future changes in groundwater levels and quality. This information will aid in the future management of the county's groundwater resources.

Approach:

As part of the cooperative groundwater study between the USGS and Brunswick County, a network of monitoring-well sites with groundwater-level recorders was established at various locations in Brunswick County. A summary of the wells and their locations for monitoring water-level conditions in the surficial, Castle Hayne, Peedee, and Black Creek aquifers is provided in table 1. Groundwater levels at each well are measured at 15- or 60-minute intervals, and the measurements are logged by a data recorder. Data collection has been discontinued at some wells during the course of the study. For example, monitoring well BR-381 was drilled in November 2013 to replace well BR-123 in Calabash. Water-level monitoring in well BR-123 will be discontinued by December 31, 2014.

Groundwater from selected wells in the monitoring-well network will be sampled annually for chloride to assess the status of water-quality in parts of Brunswick County.

Table 1. Wells in Brunswick County that are equipped with continuous groundwater-level monitoring instrumentation.

  • Bear Pen
    • Well: BR-106 (discontinued), USGS Station: 340743078202002, Aquifer: Black Creek, Period of continuous record: Oct. 1999 - Jan. 2008
    • Well: BR-107 (discontinued), USGS Station: 340743078202006, Aquifer: upper Peedee, Period of continuous record: May 2000 - Jan. 2008
  • Bolivia
    • Well: BR-078, USGS Station: 340416078084202, Aquifer: upper Peedee, Period of continuous record: May 1987 - present
    • Well: BR-099 (discontinued), USGS Station: 340416078084201, Aquifer: upper Peedee, Period of continuous record: Jan. 2000 - Jan. 2004
  • Calabash
    • Well: BR-381, USGS Station: 335335078351901, Aquifer: Surficial, Period of continuous record: Nov 2013 - present
    • Well: BR-116 (discontinued), USGS Station: 335334078352102, Aquifer: Black Creek, Period of continuous record: Oct. 1999 - Jan. 2008
    • Well: BR-123 (discontinued), USGS Station: 335334078352106, Aquifer: Surficial, Period of continuous record: Oct. 2000 - Feb. 2015
  • Southport #4
    • Well: BR-081, USGS Station: 335631078003604, Aquifer: Peedee, Period of continuous record: Nov. 1999 - present
    • Well: BR-082, USGS Station: 335631078003605, Aquifer: Castle Hayne, Period of continuous record: Nov. 1999 - present
    • Well: BR-083, USGS Station: 335631078003606, Aquifer: Surficial, Period of continuous record: Oct. 1997 - present
  • Sunset Harbor
    • Well: BR-079, USGS Station: 335629078115406, Aquifer: upper Peedee, Period of continuous record: Mar. 1987 - present
    • Well: BR-080, USGS Station: 335629078115407, Aquifer: Surficial, Period of continuous record: Jan. 1987 - present
  • Well Field
    • Well: BR-100, USGS Station: 335849078054301, Aquifer: Castle Hayne/upper Peedee, Period of continuous record: Mar. 1999 - present

Related Links:

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality: Groundwater Data

Progress:

Ongoing activities conducted for the Brunswick County Cooperative Program include:

  • Monitoring of groundwater levels
    • The USGS maintains continuous water-level recorders on 9 wells (figure 1). Of the 9 wells, 4 are completed in the surficial aquifer, 1 in the Castle Hayne aquifer, 1 in both the Castle Hayne and the Peedee aquifers, and 3 in the Peedee aquifer. Seven of the wells collect water levels at 15- or 60-minute intervals and transmit the data in near real time. Updated water-levels are available every hour via the USGS National Water Information System web page.
    • The USGS will sample groundwater from 8 wells in September. The water from these wells will be analyzed for chloride. Results will be available via the USGS National Water Information System web page.
    • Groundwater level and quality data collected from 2001 to 2013 are available in the USGS report “North Carolina Annual Water Data Report” available online at https://wdr.water.usgs.gov/.
  • Maintenance of Brunswick County area hydrologic databases
    • The USGS continues to update the National Water Information System database with groundwater level and quality information.