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Simulation of ground-water flow in the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system near the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, and the Point Breeze Refinery, southern Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

January 1, 2002

Ground-water flow in the Potomac-Raritan- Magothy aquifer system (PRM) in south Philadelphia and adjacent southwestern New Jersey was simulated by use of a three-dimensional, seven-layer finite-difference numerical flow model. The simulation was run from 1900, which was prior to groundwater development, through 1995 with 21 stress periods. The focus of the modeling was on a smaller area of concern in south Philadelphia in the vicinity of the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) and the Point Breeze Refinery (PBR). In order to adequately simulate the ground-water flow system in the area of concern, a much larger area was modeled that included parts of New Jersey where significant ground-water withdrawals, which affect water levels in southern Philadelphia, had occurred in the past. At issue in the area of concern is a hydrocarbon plume of unknown origin and time of release.

The ground-water-flow system was simulated to estimate past water-level altitudes in and near the area of concern and to determine the effect of the Packer Avenue sewer, which lies south of the DSCP, on the ground-water-flow system. Simulated water-level altitudes for the lower sand unit of the PRM on the DSCP prior to 1945 ranged from pre-development, unstressed altitudes to 3 feet below sea level. Simulated water-level altitudes for the lower sand unit ranged from 3 to 7 feet below sea level from 1946 to 1954, from 6 to 10 feet below sea level from 1955 to 1968, and from 9 to 11 feet below sea level from 1969 to 1978. The lowest simulated water-level altitude on the DSCP was 10.69 feet below sea level near the end of 1974. Model simulations indicate ground water was infiltrating the Packer Avenue sewer prior to approximately 1947 or 1948. Subsequent to that time, simulated ground-water-level altitudes were lower than the bottom of the sewer.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2001
Title Simulation of ground-water flow in the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy aquifer system near the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, and the Point Breeze Refinery, southern Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
DOI 10.3133/wri014218
Authors Curtis L. Schreffler
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 2001-4218
Index ID wri014218
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center