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Hydrogeology and Migration of Septic-Tank Effluent in the Surficial Aquifer System in the Northern Midlands Area, Palm Beach County, Florida

October 13, 2021

The northern Midlands area in Palm Beach County is an area of expected residential growth, but its flat topography, poor drainage, and near-surface marl layers retard rainfall infiltration and cause frequent flooding. Public water supplies and sewer services are not planned for the area, thus, residents must rely on domestic wells and septic tanks. The water table in the northern Midlands area is seldom more than 5 feet below land surface, and regional ground-water flows are east, southwest, and south from the north-central part of the area where ground-water levels are highest. Ground-water quality in the western part of the area and in the Loxahatchee Slough is greatly influenced by residual seawater emplaced during the Pleistocene Epoch. Chloride and dissolved-solids concentrations of ground water in the surficial aquifer system in these areas often exceed secondary drinking-water standards. Residual seawater has been more effectively flushed from the more permeable sediments elsewhere in the eastern and southwestern parts of the study area. Test at three septic-tank sites showed traces of effluent in ground water (38-92 feet from the septic tank outlets) and that near-surface marl layers greatly impede the downward migration of the effluent in the surficial aquifer system throughout the northern midlands.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1992
Title Hydrogeology and Migration of Septic-Tank Effluent in the Surficial Aquifer System in the Northern Midlands Area, Palm Beach County, Florida
DOI 10.3133/wri914175
Authors Wesley L. Miller
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 91-4175
Index ID wri914175
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center