Report Outlines Potential Groundwater Resources in Orange County’s Ramapo River and Woodbury Creek Valleys
Several areas with modest water-resource potential within the valleys of the Ramapo River and Woodbury Creek have been identified in eastern Orange County, New York.
TROY, N.Y. – Several areas with modest water-resource potential within the valleys of the Ramapo River and Woodbury Creek have been identified in eastern Orange County, New York. The most favorable of these areas are mostly within the northern half of the 23-mile long study area, between Arden and Mountainville according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study.
The study area in eastern Orange County, New York has undergone substantial population growth in recent decades in part because major transportation corridors pass through it and provide access to the New York metropolitan area Water-resource information is essential for future water-supply and development planning. USGS completed the study in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Currently, groundwater supplies serve more than 80 percent of residents in the area.
“This study is intended to put basic facts into the hands of those responsible for making decisions on future groundwater use and protection,” said USGS scientist Paul Heisig, who led the evaluation. “We have identified and mapped a number of aquifer areas and described their current use and their potential as groundwater sources.” The degree of interconnection among favorable aquifer areas, however, is largely unknown.
Both unconfined and confined sand and gravel aquifers were identified. Unconfined aquifers generally have the highest potential for water supply in areas where water from lakes and rivers can be induced to infiltrate into the aquifer by pumping wells. However, these aquifers are most susceptible to pollution from land use because coarse-grained sediments near land surface can readily receive recharge.
Confined aquifers are overlain by sediments of low permeability that are a barrier to direct recharge from rainfall and from contaminants introduced at land surface. Such aquifers most likely receive recharge from rainfall that infiltrates permeable sediments and fractured bedrock of surrounding hillsides.
Fractured bedrock is also commonly tapped by supply wells in the valleys. In upland areas, nearly all domestic wells tap fractured-bedrock aquifers.
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