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Interpretation of borehole geophysical logs, aquifer-isolation tests, and water quality, supply wells 1 and 2, Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

March 1, 2002

Ground water pumped from supply wells 1 and 2 on the Willow Grove Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base (NAS/JRB) provides water for use at the base, including potable water for drinking. The supply wells have been contaminated by volatile organic compounds (VOC's), particularly trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and the water is treated to remove the VOC's. The Willow Grove NAS/JRB and surrounding area are underlain by sedimentary rocks of the Triassic-age Stockton Formation, which form a complex, heterogeneous aquifer.

The ground-water-flow system for the supply wells was characterized by use of borehole geophysical logs and heatpulse-flowmeter measurements. The heatpulse-flowmeter measurements showed upward and downward borehole flow under nonpumping conditions in both wells. The hydraulic and chemical properties of discrete water-bearing fractures in the supply wells were characterized by isolating each water-bearing fracture with straddle packers. Eight fractures in supply well 1 and five fractures in supply well 2 were selected for testing on the basis of the borehole geophysical logs and borehole television surveys. Water samples were collected from each isolated fracture and analyzed for VOC?s and inorganic constituents.

Fractures at 50–59, 79–80, 196, 124–152, 182, 241, 256, and 350–354 ft btoc (feet below top of casing) were isolated in supply well 1. Specific capacities ranged from 0.26 to 5.7 (gal/min)/ft (gallons per minute per foot) of drawdown. The highest specific capacity was for the fracture isolated at 179.8–188 ft btoc. Specific capacity and depth of fracture were not related in either supply well. The highest concentrations of PCE were in water samples collected from fractures isolated at 236.8–245 and 249.8–258 ft btoc, which are hydraulically connected. The concentration of PCE generally increased with depth to a maximum of 39 mg/L (micrograms per liter) at a depth of 249.8? 258 ft btoc and then decreased to 21 mg/L at a depth of 345.3–389 ft btoc.

Fractures at 68–74, 115, 162, 182, 205, and 314 ft btoc were isolated in supply well 2. Specific capacities ranged from 0.08 to less than 2.9 (gal/ min)/ft. The highest specific capacity was for the fracture isolated at 157–165.2 ft btoc. Concentrations of detected VOC's in water samples were 3.6 mg/L or less.

Lithologic units penetrated by both supply wells were determined by correlating naturalgamma and single-point-resistance borehole geophysical logs. All lithologic units are not continuous water-bearing units because water-bearing fractures are not necessarily present in the same lithologic units in each well. Although the wells penetrate the same lithologic units, the lithologic location of only three water-bearing fractures are common to both wells. The same lithologic unit may have different hydraulic properties in each well.

A regional ground-water divide is southeast of the supply wells. From this divide, ground water flows northwest toward Park Creek, a tributary to Little Neshaminy Creek. Potentiometric-surface maps were prepared from water levels measured in shallow and deep wells. For both depth intervals, the direction of ground-water flow is toward the northwest. For most well clusters, the vertical head gradient is downward from the shallow to the deeper part of the aquifer. Pumping of the supply wells at times can cause the vertical flow direction to reverse.