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Hydrogeology and extent of saltwater intrusion on Manhasset Neck, Nassau County, New York

July 1, 2002

Manhasset Neck, a peninsula on the northern shore of Long Island, N.Y., is underlain by unconsolidated deposits that form a sequence of aquifers and confning units. Ground water at several public-supply wells has been affected by the intrusion of saltwater from the surrounding embayments (Manhasset Bay, Long Island Sound, Hempstead Harbor). Twenty-two boreholes were drilled during 1992-96 for the collection of hydrogeologic, geochemical, and geophysical data to delineate the subsurface geology and the extent of saltwater intrusion within the peninsula. A series of continuous high-resolution seismic- reflection surveys was completed in 1993 and 1994 to delineate the character and extent of the hydrogeologic deposits beneath the embayments surrounding Manhasset Neck.

The new drill-core data indicate two hydrogeologic units--the North Shore aquifer and the North Shore confining unit--where the Lloyd aquifer, Raritan confining unit, and the Magothy aquifer have been completely removed by glacial erosion.

Water levels at selected observation wells were measured quarterly throughout the study. These data, and continuous water-level records, indicate that (1) the upper glacial (water-table) and Magothy aquifers are hydraulically connected and that their water levels do not respond to tidal fluctuations, and (2) the Lloyd and North Shore aquifers also are hydraulically connected, but their water levels do respond to pumping and tidal fluctuations.

Offshore seismic-reflection surveys in the surrounding embayments, and drill-core samples, indicate at least four glacially eroded buried valleys with subhorizontal, parallel reflectors indicative of draped bedding that is interpreted as infilling by silt and clay. The buried valleys (1) truncate the surrounding coarse-grained deposits, (2) are asymmetrical and steep sided, (3) trend northwest-southeast, (4) are 2 to 4 miles long and about 1 mile wide, and (5) extend to more than 400 feet below sea level.

Water from 12 public-supply wells screened in the Magothy and upper glacial aquifers contained volatile organic compounds in concentrations above the New York State Department of Health Drinking Water maximum contaminant levels, as did water from one public- supply well screened in the Lloyd aquifer and from two observation wells screened in the upper glacial aquifer.

Five distinct areas of saltwater intrusion have been delineated in Manhasset Neck; three extend into the Lloyd and North Shore aquifers, and two extend into the upper glacial and Magothy aquifers. Borehole-geophysical-logging data indicate that several of these saltwater wedges range from a few feet to more than 125 feet in thickness and have sharp freshwater-saltwater interfaces, and that chloride concentrations within these wedges in 1997 ranged from 102 to 9,750 milligrams per liter. Several public-supply wells have either been shut down or are currently being affected by these saltwater wedges. Data show active saltwater intrusion in at least two of the wedges.

Publication Year 2002
Title Hydrogeology and extent of saltwater intrusion on Manhasset Neck, Nassau County, New York
DOI 10.3133/wri004193
Authors Frederick Stumm, Andrew D. Lange, J.L. Candela
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 2000-4193
Index ID wri004193
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center