Frederick County Carbonate Aquifer Appraisal

Science Center Objects

The objective of this study is to better characterize the carbonate aquifer system in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and provide relevant hydrogeologic information that can be used to guide the development and management of this important water resource.

Problem

The carbonate aquifer system of the Northern Shenandoah Valley provides an important water supply to local communities. This is an area with an expanding economy and a growing population, and this aquifer is likely to be further developed to meet future water needs. An improved understanding of this complex aquifer system is required to effectively develop and manage it as a sustainable water supply. Hydrogeologic information provided by a detailed aquifer appraisal will provide useful information to better address questions about (1) the quantity of water available for use, (2) the effects of increased pumpage on ground-water levels and instream flows, (3) the relation between karst features and the hydrology and geochemistry of the surface- and ground-water flow systems, and (4) the quality of the ground-water supply and its vulnerability to current and potential future sources of contamination. The area to be considered in this proposed study encompasses the carbonate formations in Frederick County, Virginia bounded on the east by the Martinsburg Formation, and on the west by Little North Mountain. 

Objective

The objective of this study is to better characterize the carbonate aquifer system in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and provide relevant hydrogeologic information that can be used to guide the development and management of this important water resource.

Relevance and Benefits

Work on this project will contribute to the knowledge of water resources in the carbonate aquifers of Frederick County and the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The study will set the framework for further investigation of fundamental processes controlling the occurrence and movement of water in the carbonate aquifer system. Over the long term, information from this study will be incorporated with current and past investigations in neighboring states to increase our knowledge of the hydrogeologic controls on ground-water flow in the karst terrain of the Middle Atlantic States.

Approach

This study will be carried out as four major work elements to include (1) Hydrogeologic Framework, (2) Ground-Water Flow System, (3) Water Balance, and (4) Water Quality. The study will be completed in three and one-half years beginning in October 2000. A field reconnaissance will be completed, existing geologic, hydrologic, and associated information will be collected, organized, and evaluated, and limited field data collection activities will be conducted in Federal FY 2001. Based on an evaluation of this information, field investigations will be expanded in FY 2002 and 2003. Data analyses will be completed in 2003, and a final report will be produced in FY 2004. Continued monitoring and further investigation of specific water management issues will likely be carried out thereafter.