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Hydrogeology and simulation of ground-water flow in the Paluxy aquifer in the vicinity of Landfills 1 and 3, U.S. Air Force Plant 4, Fort Worth, Texas

January 1, 1998

Ground-water contamination of the surficial terrace alluvial aquifer has occurred at U.S. Air Force Plant 4, a government-owned, contractor-operated facility, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. A poorly constructed monitoring well, P–22M, open to the underlying middle zone of the Paluxy aquifer was installed at landfill 3, October 1987, allowing leakage of contaminated ground water to reach the Paluxy aquifer. This well was plugged and abandoned in November 1995. Additionally, volatile organic compounds have been detected in fractures in the Goodland-Walnut confining unit, the hydrogeologic unit separating the terrace alluvial aquifer from the underlying Paluxy aquifer, beneath the western part of landfill 1. Volatile organic compounds in concentrations near the analytical detection limit were detected in the upper Paluxy prior to the drilling of well P–22M.

The ground-water-flow simulation model described in this report was developed to examine the best logistically feasible location to install recovery wells to capture the low concentration (less than 100 micrograms per liter) trichloroethylene plume beneath landfills 1 and 3 (west Paluxy plume). Once the recovery wells were installed (1996), the simulation model was recalibrated with new data. This report documents the capture area of the installed recovery wells. Four geologic units are pertinent to this site-specific model. From oldest to youngest, these are the Glen Rose Formation, Paluxy Formation, Walnut Formation, and Goodland Limestone. The Glen Rose Formation is relatively impermeable in the study area and forms the confining unit underlying the Paluxy Formation. The Paluxy Formation forms the Paluxy aquifer, which is a public drinking water supply for the City of White Settlement. The Walnut Formation and Goodland Limestone form the Goodland-Walnut confining unit overlying the Paluxy aquifer. Near landfill 3, gamma-ray logs indicate three distinct zones of the Paluxy Formation; upper, middle, and lower. The formation is about 170-feet thick near landfill 3, and each zone is about 57-feet thick.

Two steady-state simulations using the computer program MODFLOW were analyzed using the particle-tracking computer program, MODPATH. One simulation is the calibration simulation using Paluxy aquifer water-level data for May 1993. The second simulation includes the installed recovery wells. A variably spaced grid was designed for the model. The smallest grid cells, 25 by 25 feet, are in the vicinity of landfills 1 and 3. The largest cells, 4,864.5 by 1,441.5 feet, are at the northwestern corner of the model grid near the Parker-Tarrant County line. The modeling was accomplished with three layers representing the upper, middle, and lower zones of the Paluxy aquifer. Particles, which represent contaminant molecules moving in solution with the ground water, were tracked from well P–22M and an area below landfill 1, at the top of the upper zone of the Paluxy aquifer, for 9 years (forward tracking). The forward tracking estimates where contaminants might move by advection from 1987 to 1996. Analysis of backward tracking from the new recovery wells indicates that the simulated contributing area to the recovery wells intercepts the contaminant plume, minimizing off-site migration of the west Paluxy plume. To determine the effectiveness of the recovery wells, monitoring wells southeast of Building 14 have been installed (1996–97) for sampling.

Publication Year 1998
Title Hydrogeology and simulation of ground-water flow in the Paluxy aquifer in the vicinity of Landfills 1 and 3, U.S. Air Force Plant 4, Fort Worth, Texas
DOI 10.3133/wri984023
Authors Eve L. Kuniansky, Stanley T. Hamrick
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 98-4023
Index ID wri984023
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Texas Water Science Center