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Groundwater modeling to evaluate interaquifer leakage in the Floridan aquifer system near Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart

April 13, 2011

Simulations using a modified regional groundwater- flow model were used to determine the amount of leakage from the Upper Floridan aquifer (UFA) through the Lower Floridan confining unit (LFC) into the Lower Floridan aquifer (LFA) resulting from pumping about 1 million gallons per day at newly constructed LFA production wells at Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart in coastal Georgia. Simulated steadystate drawdown at each of the LFA production wells closely matched observed drawdown during a 72-hour aquifer test with the observed water levels reaching steady-state by the end of the test period. However, simulated drawdown was greater than observed drawdown in the UFA because of the short duration of the aquifer test and the time required for groundwater movement through the LFC into the LFA. Steadystate simulations provide an estimate of leakage based on the long-term continuous operation of each production well. Results of model simulations indicate that interaquifer leakage accounts for 48 percent of the flow to the well at Hunter Army Airfield, and 98 percent of the flow to the well at Fort Stewart. Simulated results near the Hunter Army Airfield production well indicated that 65 percent of the leakage from the UFA to the LFA occurs within a 1-mile radius, whereas simulated results near the Fort Stewart production well indicated 80-percent leakage from the UFA to the LFA within the same radius. The greater amount of leakage to the production well near Fort Stewart can be attributed to the higher transmissivity of the UFA and higher vertical hydraulic conductivity in the LFC near the well.