Recent Submissions

  • Pesticides and their Metabolites in Selected Surface-Water Public Supplies in New York State, 1999

    Phillips, Patrick J.; Eckhardt, David A.; Smith, Melissa A.; Rosenmann, Larry; USGS (1/1/1999)
    Sixteen different pesticides or their metabolites (degradations products) where detected in water samples collected in 1999 from three networks of lakes and reservoirs in upstate New York that are sources of public water supply. The networks sampled included the New York City network (10 reservoirs); the Finger Lakes-Great Lakes network (three Finger Lakes and two Great Lakes that supply large and small cities) and the western New York reservoir network (three reservoirs that supply small cities or towns). The concentrations of the compounds detected in the samples generally were low. Only a few of the compounds detected had a concentration exceeding 1 mg/L (microgram per liter), and no compounds detected in the New York City reservoirs network had concentrations exceeding 0.05 mg/L. None of the compounds detected exceeded any Federal or State water-quality standard. Compounds that were most frequently detected, and whose concentrations were highest, were the three herbicides atrazine, metolachlor, and simazine, and two herbicide metabolites (the atrazine metabolite deethylatrazine, and the metolachlor metabolite metolachlor ESA). Most of these compounds, or their parent compounds, are used on corn or other row crops. Median total pesticide and metabolite concentration for each network ranged from less than 0.02 mg/L for the New York City reservoirs network to more than 2 mg/L for the western New York reservoir network; the median for the Finger Lakes–Great Lakes network was about 0.1 mg/L. These differences reflect the amount of agricultural land use within each of the three networks, although other factors can affect pesticide and metabolite concentrations. The watersheds of the New York City reservoirs have the lowest percentage of agricultural land, and those of the western New York reservoirs have the highest. The highest herbicide or herbicide-metabolite concentrations among the New York City reservoirs were in the Cannonsville reservoir, whose watershed has a high percentage of agricultural land. The highest pesticide concentrations of the Lake sites were in Cayuga Lake, and the highest pesticide concentrations of the western New York reservoir sites were at the LeRoy reservoir. The drought conditions in 1999 resulted in a general decrease in median total concentrations, and in the median number of detected compounds, in all networks, from January through September. Pesticide concentrations at the western New York reservoir sites were lower in 1999 than in 1998, as a result of the late-spring and early-summer drought conditions in 1999. Concentrations of pesticides in surface-water supplies are likely to be higher during years with normal or high streamflows than in years of drought, and the small reservoirs are likely to show a greater change in pesticide concentrations from drought year to nondrought years than the larger water bodies.
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan for 2012-2014

    This government document describes an Action Plan by 16 agencies to restore the Great Lakes during the FY 2012-2014. It articulates the most significant ecosystem problems and efforts to address them in five major focus areas: • Toxic Substances and Areas of Concern, including pollution prevention and cleanup of the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes • Invasive Species, including efforts to institute a “zero tolerance policy” toward new invasions, including the establishment of self-sustaining populations of invasive species, such as Asian Carp • Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution, including a targeted geographic focus on high priority watersheds and reducing polluted runoff from urban, suburban and, agricultural sources • Habitat and Wildlife Protection and Restoration, including bringing wetlands and other habitat back to life, and the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the entire 530,000 acres of Great Lakes coastal wetlands for the purpose of strategically targeting restoration and protection efforts in a science-based manner • Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication and Partnerships, including the implementation of goal- and results-based accountability measures, learning initiatives, outreach and strategic partnerships The Action Plan identifies goals, objectives, measurable ecological targets, and specific actions for each of the five focus areas identified above. The Action Plan will be used by federal agencies in the development of the federal budget for Great Lakes restoration in fiscal years 2011 and beyond. As such, it will serve as guidance for collaborative restoration work with participants to advance restoration. The Action Plan will also help advance the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada.
  • Computation of Inflows and Outflows of Eight Regulated Lakes in the Oswego River Basin, New York, 1930-79

    Lumia, Richard; Moore, Richard B.; USGS (1/1/1983)
    Estimates of daily inflows and outflows of eight regulated lakes in the Oswego River basin and discharges of three rivers draining these lakes were computed and compiled for use in evaluated lake-regulation procedures in the basin 's stream and reservoir system and are stored on computer. This report includes a table of monthly flows at these sites from 1930-79. Computations were based on records from the 1930-79 water years. Daily net inflow estimates (lake inflow minus evaporation and possible groundwater seepage) were computed from the outflows and changes in lake storage. Lake storage was estimated from lake level data and elevation-capacity curves for each lake. A smoothing technique was applied to plots of daily lake levels before net inflows were computed. Where lake level or outflow data were missing, net flows were estimated from linear regression equations. Analysis of results indicates that: (1) smoothing the plots of daily lake levels significantly reduces random fluctuations resulting from seiche or wind action; (2) continuous lake storage recorders provide a more reliable record than staff gages (once-daily, lake level readings) for computing daily changes in lake storage; and (3) the effect of smoothing decreases as the computational period is increased. (USGS)
  • Ground-water Movement in the Upper Glacial Aquifer in the Manorville Area, Town of Brookhaven, Long Island, New York, in November 1983

    Eckhardt, David A.; Wexler, Eliezer J.; USGS (1/1/1986)
    Water levels in 52 wells near the Manorville scavenger-waste disposal facility in the Town of Brookhaven were measured in November 1983 to determine the direction and gradients of groundwater flow in the upper glacial aquifer. Groundwater moves south-southeastward (S22 degrees E) from the groundwater divide, about 6 miles north of the facility, to discharge points near East Moriches and beneath Moriches Bay. The hydraulic gradient beneath the disposal facility is 6.5 ft/mi (0.0012 foot/foot), and the rate of horizontal flow is 0.9 to 1.7 ft/day. Vertical movement of groundwater since closure of the disposal facility in 1982 is probably negligible because the vertical gradients are small and the upper glacial aquifer is anisotropic. During operation of the facility, however, groundwater mounding may have developed beneath the unlined settling basins, which could have induced downward movement of water in the upper glacial aquifer. (USGS)
  • Lake Ontario Water Chemistry Atlas

    This atlas contains a broad assessment of the results of phosphorus loading reduction in Lake Ontario in the 1970s, including the in-lake phosphorus concentration reduction. It also describes trends of other indicators of recovery from eutrophication. The summer Secchi depths and summer oxygen depletion rates were fairly stable in the 1970s, whereas they would have worsened without phosphorus control. Particulate organic carbon in offshore surface waters during August/September declined steadily by 20% from 1975 to 1981. Also illustrated are the chemical/biological aspects of the spring time thermal bar, and lakewide upwelling/downwelling in response to winds in summer. In July 1972, there was a prominent lakewide chlorophyll maximum at a depth of about 10m. The spring time diatom crop was located near the lake bottom in summer, as indicated by abundant particulate organic matter and near-bottom release of soluble reactive silica. March/April nitrate+ nitrite had steadily increasing values, from 215 p.g N /L in 1968 to 340 p.g N /L in 1981. There was a residual level of nitrate + nitrite in surface waters during late summer in the later years, amounting to about 100 p.g N /L, which, along with decreased phosphorus and increased N:P ratios, means that troublesome blue-green algal blooms and scums will not occur. In summary, the phosphorus control program and a fortuitous increase of soluble reactive nitrogen have resulted in very good metabolic conditions in Lake Ontario, with moderate phosphorus and plankton con tent, prevention of troublesome plankton blooms, and excellent oxygen conditions. It is strongly recommended that the phosphorus loading control program for Lake Ontario and upstream Lake Erie be continued, to maintain the presently ideal trophic conditions in Lake Ontario.
  • Method for Estimating Low-flow Statistics for Ungaged Streams in the Lower Hudson River Basin, New York

    Barnes, Charles R.; USGS (1/1/1986)
    Seven-day, 10-year and 7-day, 2-year low flow statistics were related to selected basin characteristics by multiple-regression analysis for 53 sites with watershed areas of less than 100 sq mi in the lower Hudson River basin. A common 20-year period of record was selected to ensure comparability of results. The most significant variable was the percentage of drainage basin underlain by stratified drift. The lowest standard errors of estimate were obtained from equations giving results in terms of discharge/sq mi during low-flow conditions. The statistically significant basin characteristics needed for estimating low flow were percentage of basin containing stratified drift, mean basin elevation, and mean annual precipitation. The smallest standard errors for 7-day, 10-year and 7-day, 2-year low flows obtained were 51% of the mean and 39% of the mean, respectively. (USGS)
  • Chemical Quality of Base Flow in 18 Selected Streams in the Upper Susquehanna River Basin, New York

    Hetcher, Kari K.; Miller, Todd S.; Komor, Steven C.; USGS (1/1/2004)
    The base-flow and runoff components of total streamflow at four selected sites in the upper Susquehanna River Basin in New York were calculated through hydrograph-separation techniques from long-term (1941-93) discharge records. Base flow was found to constitute more than 60 percent of the total annual flow of each stream. Base-flow samples were then collected at 18 stream sites several times during 2001 to define the chemical quality of base flow. The concentrations of selected common ions, nutrients, and pesticides were plotted in relation to the amount of agricultural land and carbonate bedrock in the drainage basin upstream of each site. Sites were selected at locations distant from and unaffected by development and urban areas. Twelve of the sites were again sampled in November 2001 for pesticide analysis. The predominant cations detected in the samples were calcium, magnesium, and sodium; the major anions were chloride, sulfate, and bicarbonate. The predominant nutrient was nitrate. Higher nitrate concentrations in the winter samples than in the summer samples are attributed to the seasonal decrease in plant growth and microbial activity in the streams during the winter, which allows nitrate to persist in the stream water. Lower nitrate concentrations in the summer samples probably result from nitrogen uptake by vegetation and microbial activity in the streams. Base-flow samples from the agricultural, carbonate-rich northern part of the study area had higher concentrations of most inorganic chemical constituents than those from the forested, noncarbonate (shale, siltstone, and sandstone) central and southern parts. The highest nitrate concentrations were in samples from subbasins dominated by agricultural land, and the lowest were in subbasins dominated by forest. The concentrations in samples from subbasins with forested as well as agricultural land were intermediate. Six pesticides were detected in samples from 10 of the 12 sites. All were herbicides. The highest concentrations of pesticides, and the most frequent pesticide detections, were in samples from agricultural subbasins and large main-stem subbasins with mixed land use and mixed bedrock geology. A correlation was indicated between land use and concentrations of atrazine and deethylatrazine. The concentrations of all six compounds were at least an order of magnitude lower than New York State and Federal water-quality standards. Ground water from four production wells in the villages of Afton, Sidney, Unadilla, and Otego was analyzed for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to indicate the approximate age of the water in these wells and the potential for induced infiltration of river water. The water at two of these wells is probably between 26 and 50 years old; the ages of water at the other two wells could not be reliably estimated because of CFC contamination from a nonatmospheric source. The two wells for which CFC analysis gave reliable results (Afton and Otego) probably do not induce infiltration of river water into the aquifer.
  • Alternative Sources of Large Seasonal Ground-water Supplies in the Headwaters of the Susquehanna River Basin, New York

    Randall, Allan D.; Snavely, Deborah S.; Holecek, Thomas J.; Waller, Roger M.; USGS (1/1/1988)
    The northern divide of the Susquehanna River basin crosses 29 broad valleys that contain thick glacial deposits but are drained only by small headwater streams. Much groundwater could be withdrawn from sand and gravel deposits in these valleys with little immediate effect on streamflow. A digital model of the headwater reach of one typical valley suggests that pumping 10.8 million gal/day for 2 months every summer would lower the water table as much as 33 ft, cause the upper 1,900 ft of the stream draining the valley to go dry, and reduce streamflow downvalley by 1.2 million gal/day by the time pumping ceased. Saturated thickness of surficial sand and gravel exceeds 40 ft in about half the headwater valley reaches; the valley floor areas range from 0.2 to 9 sq mi. Seepage losses from small streams that carry runoff from adjacent till-covered uplands are a major source of recharge to aquifers in these valleys under natural conditions and would increase if the water table were lowered by seasonal withdrawals. Some aquifers beneath extensive clay layers in these and other valleys of the Susquehanna River basin may be partially independent of streams but not easily evaluated. (USGS)
  • HST3D; a Computer Code for Simulation of Heat and Solute Transport in Three-dimensional Ground-water Flow Systems

    Kipp, Kenneth L.; USGS (1/1/1987)
    The Heat- and Soil-Transport Program (HST3D) simulates groundwater flow and associated heat and solute transport in three dimensions. The three governing equations are coupled through the interstitial pore velocity, the dependence of the fluid density on pressure, temperature, the solute-mass fraction , and the dependence of the fluid viscosity on temperature and solute-mass fraction. The solute transport equation is for only a single, solute species with possible linear equilibrium sorption and linear decay. Finite difference techniques are used to discretize the governing equations using a point-distributed grid. The flow-, heat- and solute-transport equations are solved , in turn, after a particle Gauss-reduction scheme is used to modify them. The modified equations are more tightly coupled and have better stability for the numerical solutions. The basic source-sink term represents wells. A complex well flow model may be used to simulate specified flow rate and pressure conditions at the land surface or within the aquifer, with or without pressure and flow rate constraints. Boundary condition types offered include specified value, specified flux, leakage, heat conduction, and approximate free surface, and two types of aquifer influence functions. All boundary conditions can be functions of time. Two techniques are available for solution of the finite difference matrix equations. One technique is a direct-elimination solver, using equations reordered by alternating diagonal planes. The other technique is an iterative solver, using two-line successive over-relaxation. A restart option is available for storing intermediate results and restarting the simulation at an intermediate time with modified boundary conditions. This feature also can be used as protection against computer system failure. Data input and output may be in metric (SI) units or inch-pound units. Output may include tables of dependent variables and parameters, zoned-contour maps, and plots of the dependent variables versus time. (Lantz-PTT)
  • Cost Effectiveness of the US Geological Survey's Stream-gaging Program in New York

    Wolcott, Stephen W.; Gannon, William B.; Johnston, William H.; USGS (1/1/1986)
    The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a 5-year nationwide analysis to define and document the most cost effective means of obtaining streamflow data. This report describes the stream gaging network in New York and documents the cost effectiveness of its operation; it also identifies data uses and funding sources for the 174 continuous-record stream gages currently operated (1983). Those gages as well as 189 crest-stage, stage-only, and groundwater gages are operated with a budget of $1.068 million. One gaging station was identified as having insufficient reason for continuous operation and was converted to a crest-stage gage. Current operation of the 363-station program requires a budget of $1.068 million/yr. The average standard error of estimation of continuous streamflow data is 13.4%. Results indicate that this degree of accuracy could be maintained with a budget of approximately $1.006 million if the gaging resources were redistributed among the gages. The average standard error for 174 stations was calculated for five hypothetical budgets. A minimum budget of $970,000 would be needed to operated the 363-gage program; a budget less than this does not permit proper servicing and maintenance of the gages and recorders. Under the restrictions of a minimum budget, the average standard error would be 16.0%. The maximum budget analyzed was $1.2 million, which would decrease the average standard error to 9.4%. (Author 's abstract)
  • Simulation of Ground-water Flow Near the Nuclear-fuel Reprocessing Facility at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, Cattaraugus County, New York

    Yager, Richard M.; USGS (1/1/1987)
    A two-dimensional finite-difference model was developed to simulate groundwater flow in a surficial sand and gravel deposit underlying the nuclear fuel reprocessing facility at Western New York Nuclear Service Center near West Valley, N.Y. The sand and gravel deposit overlies a till plateau that abuts an upland area of siltstone and shale on its west side, and is bounded on the other three sides by deeply incised stream channels that drain to Buttermilk Creek, a tributary to Cattaraugus Creek. Radioactive materials are stored within the reprocessing plant and are also buried within a till deposit at the facility. Tritiated water is stored in a lagoon system near the plant and released under permit to Franks Creek, a tributary to Buttermilk Creek. Groundwater levels predicted by steady-state simulations closely matched those measured in 23 observation wells, with an average error of 0.5 meter. Simulated groundwater discharges to two stream channels and a subsurface drain were within 5% of recorded values. Steady-state simulations used an average annual recharge rate of 46 cm/yr; predicted evapotranspiration loss from the ground was 20 cm/yr. The lateral range in hydraulic conductivity obtained through model calibration was 0.6 to 10 m/day. Model simulations indicated that 33% of the groundwater discharged from the sand and gravel unit (2.6 L/sec) is lost by evapotranspiration, 3% (3.0 L/sec) flows to seepage faces at the periphery of the plateau, 20% (1.6 L/sec) discharges to stream channels that drain a large wetland area near the center of the plateau, and the remaining 8% (0.6 L/sec) discharges to a subsurface french drain and to a wastewater treatment system. Groundwater levels computed by a transient-state simulation of an annual climatic cycle, including seasonal variation in recharge and evapotranspiration, closely matched water levels measured in eight observation wells. The model predicted that the subsurface drain and the stream channel that drains the wetland would intercept most of the recharge originating near the reprocessing plant. (Lantz-PTT)
  • Geohydrologic Conditions at the Nuclear-fuels Reprocessing Plant and Waste-management Facilities at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, Cattaraugus County, New York

    Bergeron, Marcel P.; Kappel, William M.; Yager, Richard M.; USGS (1/1/1987)
    A nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant, a high-level radioactive liquid-waste tank complex, and related waste facilities occupy 100 hectares (ha) within the Western New York Nuclear Service Center near West Valley, N.Y. The facilities are underlain by glacial and postglacial deposits that fill an ancestrial bedrock valley. The main plant facilities are on an elevated plateau referred to as the north plateau. Groundwater on the north plateau moves laterally within a surficial sand and gravel from the main plant building to areas northeast, east, and southeast of the facilities. The sand and gravel ranges from 1 to 10 m thick and has a hydraulic conductivity ranging from 0.1 to 7.9 m/day. Two separate burial grounds, a 4-ha area for low-level radioactive waste disposal and a 2.9-ha area for disposal of higher-level waste are excavated into a clay-rich till that ranges from 22 to 28 m thick. Migration of an organic solvent from the area of higher level waste at shallow depth in the till suggests that a shallow, fractured, oxidized, and weathered till is a significant pathway for lateral movement of groundwater. Below this zone, groundwater moves vertically downward through the till to recharge a lacustrine silt and fine sand. Within the saturated parts of the lacustrine unit, groundwater moves laterally to the northeast toward Buttermilk Creek. Hydraulic conductivity of the till, based on field and laboratory analyses , ranges from 0.000018 to 0.000086 m/day. (USGS)
  • Distribution and Source of Barium in Ground Water at Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, Southwestern New York

    Moore, Richard B.; Staubitz, Ward W.; USGS (1/1/1984)
    High concentrations of dissolved barium have been found in ground water from bedrock wells on the Seneca Nation of Indians Reservation on Cattaraugus Creek in southwestern New York. Concentrations in 1982 were as high as 23.0 milligrams per liter , the highest found reported from any natural ground-water system in the world. The highest concentrations are in a bedrock aquifer and in small lenses of saturated gravel between bedrock and the overlying till. The bedrock aquifer is partly confined by silt, clay, and till. The high barium concentrations are attributed to dissolution of the mineral barite (BaSO4), which is present in the bedrock and possibly in overlying silt, clay, or till. The dissolution of barite seems to be controlled by action of sulfate-reducing bacteria, which alter the BaSO4 equilibrium by removing sulfate ions and permitting additional barite to dissolve. Ground water from the surficial, unconsolidated deposits and surface water in streams contain little or no barium. Because barium is chemically similar to calcium, it probably could be removed by cation exchange or treatments similar to those used for water softening. (USGS)
  • Relation of Sediment and Nutrient Loads to Watershed Characteristics and Land Use in the Otisco Lake Basin, Onondaga County, New York

    Paschal, James E.; Sherwood, Donald A.; USGS (1/1/1987)
    Otisco Lake, the smallest and easternmost of New York State 's Finger Lakes, is the source of water supply for several villages in Onondaga County. In recent years, turbidity and algal blooms have periodically impaired the lake 's use for both water supply and recreation. Principal land uses within the Otisco Lake basin are woodland (39%) and cropland (49%). Conservation practices such as contour farming, strip cropping, and diversion ditches are applied to about 47% of the cropland in the basin. Runoff and concentrations of sediment and nutrients in the five major tributaries, which together drain about 70% of the lake 's watershed, were monitored from November 1981 through September 1983, and sediment and nutrient loads from the ungaged areas of the watershed were estimated. Otisco Lake received 10,600 tons of sediment, 20,600 lbs of phosphorus asp, 199,000 lbs of total kjeldahl nitrogen as N, and 236,000 lbs of nitrite plus nitrate as N from the five tributaries and the ungaged area during the 23-month study. Spafford Creek basin (12.0 sq mi) contributed about 72% of the annual sediment load and 46% of the annual nutrient load; the other four subbasins, which range from 2.6 to 3.7 sq mi in area, each contributed 3 to 5% of the annual sediment load and 6 to 16% of the annual nutrient load. The ungaged part of the watershed contributed 12% of the annual sediment load and 28% of the annual nutrient load. Concentrations of ammonia as N were relatively uniform through the year, although some extremely high concentrations occurred during the summer. Total Kjeldahl nitrogen concentrations were highest in the summer and lowest in the fall. Concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate were significantly lower in winter than in the rest of the year. Total phosphorus concentrations were slightly higher in the spring than at other times, and concentrations of dissolved phosphorus were slightly higher in the summer. Storms and snowmelt accounted for 70 to 90% of the runoff, 90 to 99% of the sediment load, and 70 to 98% of the nutrient loads from the tributaries. The largest nutrient loads occurred during the spring of each year, when runoff was highest. About 70% of the sediment, 60% of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, 58% of total phosphorus, and 53% of nitrite plus nitrate were transported during spring high flows. (Lantz-PTT)
  • Flooding of December 29, 1984 Through January 2, 1985, in Northern New York State, With Flood Profiles of the Black and Salmon Rivers

    Lumia, Richard; Burke, Patricia M.; Johnston, William H.; USGS (1/1/1987)
    Precipitation, snowmelt, and resultant flooding throughout northern New York from December 28 through January 2, 1985, were investigated through a detailed analysis of 56 precipitation stations, 101 stage and/or discharge gaging stations, and 9 miscellaneous measurement sites. Flood damage to property and roads and bridges exceeded $5 million. Lewis and Oswego Counties were declared Federal disaster areas, primarily a result of flooding of the Black River and Salmon River. Storm-precipitation and runoff maps show the storms ' greatest intensity to have been over the Tug Hill and southwest Adirondack areas. Total rainfall from December 28 through January 2 was 6.90 inches at Stillwater Reservoir but only 0.69 inches at Lake Placid. New peak discharges of record occurred at 17 gaging stations throughout northern New York, and the maximum discharge at 17 sites had recurrence intervals equal to or greater than 100 years. Computed inflows to 11 major lakes and reservoirs in northern New York indicate that significant volumes of water (as much as 5 inches of storm runoff at Stillwater Reservoir) were stored during the storm-runoff period. Maximum 1-day flood volumes at two gaging stations on the Black River had recurrence intervals greater than 100 years. To help evaluate the extent of flooding, 67 floodmarks were obtained along a 94-mile reach of the Black River from Dexter to Forestport, and several floodmarks were surveyed within major communities along the Salmon River. The floodmarks were obtained primarily near major bridges and dams along these rivers. (Author 's abstract)
  • Estimation, Analysis, Sources, and Verification of Consumptive Water Use Data in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin

    Snavely, Deborah S.; USGS (1/1/1988)
    The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin provides water for many uses and for wildlife habitat; thus many groups have developed strategies to manage the basin 's water resource. The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing and comparing available consumptive-use data to assess the magnitude and effect of consumptive uses under present projected economic and hydraulic conditions on lake levels. As a part of this effort, the U.S. Geological Survey compared its own estimates of consumptive use in the United States with those generated by (1) the International Great Lakes Diversions and (2) the IJC. The U.S. Geological Survey also developed two methods of calculating consumptive-use projections for 1980 through 2000; one method yields an estimate of 6,490 cu ft/s for the year 2000; the other yields an estimate of 8,330 cu ft/s. These two projections could be considered the upper and lower limits for the year 2000. The reasons for the varying estimates are differences in (1) methods by which base year values were developed, and (2) the methods or models that were used to project consumptive-use values for the future. Acquisition of consumptive-use data from water users or governmental agencies or ministries would be desirable to minimize reliance on estimates. (USGS)
  • Nitrogen Transport in a Shallow Outwash Aquifer at Olean, Cattaraugus County, New York

    Yager, Richard M.; Bergeron, Marcel P.; USGS (1/1/1988)
    Groundwater beneath an industrial park at Olean, New York, contained nitrogen compounds in concentrations that in 1983 ranged from 10 to 1,280 mg/L as nitrogen, mainly in the form of ammonium. Continuous pumping from an industrial well field creates a cone of depression that prevents the nitrogen compounds from migrating to municipal-supply wells, 7,000 ft away. A two-dimensional solute transport model was used to simulate changes in nitrogen concentrations that would result from a permanent shutdown of the well field. The model assumed the nitrogen source decayed at an exponential rate with a decay constant of 0.3/year to account for nitrogen removed from the aquifer by pumping during 1978-84. The source of contamination was found to be sensitive to the volume of pumpage at the industrial well field, which altered the rate of groundwater flow through the contaminated area. Simulations of a permanent shutdown of the well field, assuming nitrogen migrates as a conservative solute, indicated that nitrogen-bearing groundwater would reach the municipal well field within 5 years and the peak concentrations at the municipal well field would range from 2 to 5 mg/L. Simulations of Langmuir adsorption of the dissolved ammonium with a one-dimensional model indicated that the arrival of the solute front at the municipal well field would be retarded by a factor of three. (USGS)
  • Understanding Great Lakes Issues

    This essay is based on material presented at a public forum jointly organized and sponsored by the International Association of Great Lakes Research and the Royal Botanical Gardens. The forum was held at the Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium on the evening of May 2, 1989. Topics discussed are: physical features of the Lake Ontario Basin history of European settlement and industrialization eutrophication and toxic contaminants in the context of the Lake Ontario food web effects of eutrophication and toxic contaminants on Lake Ontario fish and on the human population of the Basin possible effects of global climate change on Lake Ontario population growth and land use in the Lake Ontario Basin societal stresses arising from real, perceived, or anticipated environmental degradation an optimistic future scenario for Lake Ontario The point of view of the article is consistent with the ecosystem approach to Great Lakes environmental issues. It suggests that individual attitudes and lifestyles will have to be reappraised and changed before the technical knowledge we now or might eventually possess will be effective in assisting a return to a sustainable way of life. The essay is written so as to be comprehensible to high school students.
  • Ground-water Flow Near Two Radioactive-waste-disposal Areas at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, Cattaraugus County, New York; Results of Flow Simulation

    Bergeron, Marcel P.; Bugliosi, Edward F.; USGS (1/1/1988)
    Two adjacent burial areas were excavated in a clay-rich till at a radioactive waste disposal site near West Valley in Cattaraugus County, N.Y.: (1) which contains mainly low-level radioactive wastes generated onsite by a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, has been in operation since 1966; and (2) which contains commercial low-level radioactive wastes, was operated during 1963-75. Groundwater below the upper 3 meters of till generally moves downward through a 20- to 30-meter thick sequence of tills underlain by lacustrine and kame-delta deposits of fine sand and silt. Groundwater in the weathered, upper 3 meters of till can move laterally for several meters before either moving downward into the kame-delta deposits or discharging to the land surface. A two-dimensional finite-element model that simulates two vertical sections was used to evaluate hydrologic factors that control groundwater flow in the till. Conditions observed during March 1983 were reproduced accurately in steady-state simulations that used four isotropic units of differing hydraulic conductivity to represent two fractured and weathered till units near land surfaces, an intermediate group of isolated till zones that contain significant amounts of fine sand and silt, and a sequence of till units at depths that have been consolidated by overburden pressure. Recharge rates used in the best-fit simulation ranged from 1.4 cm/yr along smooth, sloping or compacted surfaces to 3.8 cm/yr near swampy areas. Values of hydraulic conductivity and infiltration used in the calibrated best-fit model were nearly identical to values used in a previous model analysis of the nearby commercial-waste burial area. Results of the model simulations of a burial pit assumed to be filled with water indicate that water near the bottom of the burial pit would migrate laterally in the shallow, weathered till for 5 to 6 meters before moving downward into the unweathered till, and water near the top of the pit would move laterally less than 20 meters before moving downward into the unweathered till. These results indicate that subsurface migration of radionuclides in groundwater to points of discharge to land surface is unlikely as long as the water level does not rise into the reworked cover material. (Author 's abstract)
  • Determination of Traveltime in the Delaware River, Hancock, New York, to the Delaware Water Gap by Use of a Conservative Dye Tracer

    White, Kirk E.; Kratzer, Todd W.; USGS (1/1/1994)
    Traveltime of a soluble substance was determined for a 120-mile reach of the Delaware River from the confluence of the East Branch Delaware River and the West Branch Delaware River at Hancock, N.Y. to the Delaware Water Gap. Dye studies were conducted at the 85-95 percent and the 25-30 percent flow durations. Discharges ranged from 500-1,740 cubic feet per second during the 85-95 percent flow duration and 3,070-7,500 cubic feet per second for the 25-30 percent flow duration. The data were used to develop a set of time-concentration curves that would enable estimation of the traveltime of a spill at any point in the river within the study reach for 10 flow durations. The leading edge of a contaminant spill at Buckingham Access would take about 70 hours to reach the Delaware Water Gap when flows are at the 30-percent flow duration. The trailing edge (location of the dye cloud when concentrations would decrease to 10 percent of the peak concentration) would take about 50 hours after the arrival of the leading edge.

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