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Integrating seismic-reflection and sequence-stratigraphic methods to characterize the hydrogeology of the Floridan aquifer system in southeast Florida

August 13, 2013

The Floridan aquifer system (FAS) is receiving increased attention as a result of regulatory restrictions on water-supply withdrawals and treated wastewater management practices. The South Florida Water Management District’s Regional Water Availability Rule, adopted in 2007, restricts urban withdrawals from the shallower Biscayne aquifer to pre-April 2006 levels throughout southeast Florida. Legislation adopted by the State of Florida requires elimination of ocean outfalls of treated wastewater by 2025. These restrictions have necessitated the use of the more deeply buried FAS as an alternate water resource to meet projected water-supply shortfalls, and as a repository for the disposal of wastewater via Class I deep injection wells and injection of reclaimed water. Some resource managers in Broward County have expressed concern regarding the viability of the FAS as an alternative water supply due to a lack of technical data and information regarding its long-term sustainability.

Sustainable development and management of the FAS for water supply is uncertain because of the potential risk posed by structural geologic anomalies (faults, fractures, and karst collapse structures) and knowledge gaps in the stratigraphy of the system. The integration of seismic-reflection and borehole data into an improved geologic and hydrogeologic framework will provide a better understanding of the structural and stratigraphic features that influence groundwater flow and contaminant transport.