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Hydrogeology of the Susquehanna River valley-fill aquifer system and adjacent areas in eastern Broome and southeastern Chenango Counties, New York

November 16, 2021

The hydrogeology of the valley-fill aquifer system along a 32-mile reach of the Susquehanna River valley and adjacent areas was evaluated in eastern Broome and southeastern Chenango Counties, New York. The surficial geology, inferred ice-marginal positions, and distribution of stratified-drift aquifers were mapped from existing data. Ice-marginal positions, which represent pauses in the retreat of glacial ice from the region, favored the accumulation of coarse-grained deposits whereas more steady or rapid ice retreat between these positions favored deposition of fine-grained lacustrine deposits with limited coarse-grained deposits at depth. Unconfined aquifers with thick saturated coarse-grained deposits are the most favorable settings for water-resource development, and three several-mile-long sections of valley were identified (mostly in Broome County) as potentially favorable: (1) the southernmost valley section, which extends from the New York–Pennsylvania border to about 1 mile north of South Windsor, (2) the valley section that rounds the west side of the umlaufberg (an isolated bedrock hill within a valley) north of Windsor, and (3) the east–west valley section at the Broome County–Chenango County border from Nineveh to East of Bettsburg (including the lower reach of the Cornell Brook valley). Fine-grained lacustrine deposits form extensive confining units between the unconfined areas, and the water-resource potential of confined aquifers is largely untested. Recharge, or replenishment, of these aquifers is dependent not only on infiltration of precipitation directly on unconfined aquifers, but perhaps more so from precipitation that falls in adjacent upland areas. Surface runoff and shallow groundwater from the valley walls flow downslope and recharge valley aquifers. Tributary streams that drain upland areas lose flow as they enter main valleys on permeable alluvial fans. This infiltrating water also recharges valley aquifers. Current (2012) use of water resources in the area is primarily through domestic wells, most of which are completed in fractured bedrock in upland areas. A few villages in the Susquehanna River valley have supply wells that draw water from beneath alluvial fans and near the Susquehanna River, which is a large potential source of water from induced infiltration.