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Map of the approximate inland extent of saltwater at the base of the Biscayne aquifer in Miami-Dade County, Florida, 2018

September 25, 2019

The inland extent of saltwater at the base of the Biscayne aquifer in eastern Miami-Dade County, Florida, was mapped in 2011, and it was mapped in the Model Land Area in 2016. The saltwater interface has continued to move inland in some areas and is now near several active well fields. An updated approximation of the inland extent of saltwater has been created by using data collected during March 8–December 13, 2018, from 111 monitoring wells open to the Biscayne aquifer near its base. Chloride concentrations in water samples from the monitoring wells and bulk conductivity from geophysical logs and measurements of the specific conductance of groundwater were used to approximate the position of the isochlor representing a chloride concentration of 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) at the base of the Biscayne aquifer.

An average rate of saltwater interface movement of about 102 meters per year in the Model Land Area along SW 360 Street was estimated from the approximated dates of arrival of the 250-, 500-, and 1,000-mg/L isochlors at wells TPGW-7L (2013–2014) and ACI-MW-05-FS (2017–2018). This estimate assumes that the interface is traveling in a path parallel to an imaginary line connecting the two monitoring wells.

Of the 111 wells from which data were used, 80 wells have open intervals of ≤ 4 meters, 20 of the wells have open intervals that range from 4.3 to 39.6 meters, and the lengths of the open intervals could not be determined in 11 wells. Studies have shown that long open intervals might allow water from various depths to mix under ambient or pumped conditions, which in turn could alter the maximum chloride concentration sampled in the well, or it might change the depth at which the maximum specific conductance is measured within a well, relative to its depth in the aquifer. The approximation of the inland extent of the saltwater interface and the estimated rate of movement of the interface are dependent on the quality of existing data. Improved estimates could be obtained by installing uniformly designed monitoring wells in systematic transects extending landward of the advancing saltwater interface. To achieve this goal, Miami-Dade County and some other organizations are routinely adding new monitoring wells with short open intervals and replacing poorly designed or positioned monitoring wells to improve spatial coverage of the network.