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Impact of hurricanes storm surges on the groundwater resources

January 1, 2007

Ocean surges onto coastal lowlands caused by tropical and extra tropical storms, tsunamis, and sea level rise affect all coastal lowlands and present a threat to drinking water resources of many coastal residents. In 2005, two such storms, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast of the US. Since September 2005, water samples have been collected from water wells impacted by the hurricanes' storm surges along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in southeastern Louisiana. The private and public water wells tested were submerged by 0.6-4.5 m of surging saltwater for several hours. The wells' casing and/or the associated plumbing were severely damaged. Water samples were collected to determine if storm surge water inundated the well casing and, if so, its effect on water quality within the shallow aquifers of the Southern Hills Aquifer System. In addition, the samples were used to determine if the impact on water quality may have long-term implication for public health. Laboratory testing for several indicator parameters (Ca/Mg, Cl/Si, chloride, boron, specific conductance and bacteria) indicates that surge water entered water wells' casing and the screened aquifer. Analysis of the groundwater shows a decrease in the Ca/Mg ratio right after the storm and then a return toward pre-Katrina values. Chloride concentrations were elevated right after Katrina and Rita, and then decreased downward toward pre-Katrina values. From September 2005 to June 2006, the wells showed improvement in all the saltwater intrusion indicators. ?? 2007 Springer-Verlag.

Publication Year 2007
Title Impact of hurricanes storm surges on the groundwater resources
DOI 10.1007/s00254-007-0694-x
Authors T. P. Van Biersel, D.A. Carlson, L.R. Milner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Geology
Index ID 70030118
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse