Ground-Water Quality and Availability In and Around Bruni

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Ground-Water Quality and Availability In and Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas~R DEVElOPMENT 8 0 A R n
Ground-Water Quality and Availability In and Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas
LP-209 March,1991
LP-209
Ground-Water Quality and Availability In and Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas
by
Ground-Wliter Quollily IUld AVIlilllbiJity In and Around Bruni, Webb County, 1'''..1(IIJI
March 1991
Texas Water Development Board
Wesley E. Pittman, Vice-Chairman William B. Madden
Thomas M. Dunning Walter W. Cardwell, III
Authorization for use or reproduction of any original material contained in this publication, i.e., not obtained from other sources, is freely granted. The Board would appreciate acknowledgement.
Published and Distributed by the
Texas Water Development Board P. O. Box 13231, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711-3231
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Ground-Water Quality and Availability Tn and Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas
March 1991
Page
INTRODUCTION. .............................................................................................................................. 1 Purpose. ..................................................................................................................................... 1 Location. .................................................................................................................................... 1 Population and Economy. ...................................................................................................... 3 Domestic Water Supply and Waste Disposal. .................................................................... 3 Public Water Supply. ............................................................................................................... 3 Previous Investigations. ............. ...... ........ ....... ............ ....... ............ .......... .... ...... .... ............ .... 5 Personnel. . .............................. ............................................ ..... ............ .... ...................... ..... ....... 17 Acknowledgements. ................................................................................................................. 17
HYDROGEOLOGIC SETTING. ...................................................................................................... 18 Geology and Stratigraphy.... ..... .............. ................. .................................. .... .......... ............. 18 Hydrogeology. ............... ........................................ ..................................... ........... .......... .......... 19 Hydarulic Properties. .............................................................................................. ............... 20 Hydraulics of Ground Water Near the Mines and Bruni ............................................... 21 Water Quantity. ........................................................................................................................ 25 Water Quality. ........................................................................................................................... 27 Movement of Arsenic and Uranium from the Uranium Mines. ..... ..... ..... .......... ....... ..... 40
WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS. .................................................................................................... 45 Are the Chemical Contaminants Introduced Into the Ground Water by Uranium Mines Traceable to Bruni? ..... ............... ............ ..... .......................... ............. 45 Where Do Arsenic and Uranium Concentrations in the Bruni Water Works Wells Come From? ........................................................................................... 46
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. ........................................................................... 49 Conclusions. ....... ...................... ....... .......... ............ ....... ........................ ... ..... .................. ... ..... ... 49 Recommendations. ............... ................................. ........ ............ ................. ........... ..... .......... ... 50
REFERENCES. .................................................................................................................................. 52
2. Records of Water Wells in the Study Area .......................................................................... 12
3. Results of Aquifer Tests, Total Minerals Uranium Mine ................................................... 22
4. Estimates of Ground Water Availability ............................................................................. 26
5. Results of Water Analyses, Bruni Water Works Inc. and Other Wells in and Near Bruni....................................................................................................... 28
6. Ground-Water Analysis Summary Report for Units 4 and 5, Total Minerals Corp ..................................... ....................... ..... ............ ............... .... ..... ......... 32
7. Water-Quality Data from Westinghouse Uranium Mine's Public Supply Well ........................... .......... .... .................................... ................. ............................. 37
TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)
FIGURES
Ground.Water Quality and AVllilllbility In and Atolmd Bruni. Webb County, Texa&
Much 1991
1. Location of Study Area ........................................................................................................... 2
2. Geologic Map of the Study Area with Location of Cross-Section A-A' ................................ 4
3A Well Completion Diagram - Bruni Water Works Wells ....................................................... 6
3B. Well Completion Diagram - Domestic Supply Wells ............................................................ 7
3C. Well Completion Diagram - Bruni School System Well....................................................... 8
4. Geologic Cross-Section A-A' ................................ ................... ................ ............. ......... ..... ...... 9
5. Locations of Water Wells Near Westinghouse Uranium Mine Site Area, North of Bruni, Texas............................................................................................ 11
6. Permit Area for the Total Uranium Mine With Location of Cross-Section B-B' ................ 15
7. Geologic Cross-Section B-B' ................................................................................................... 16
8. Map Showing the Normal Ground-Water Flow Net ............................................................. 23
9. Map Showing the Distorted Ground-Water Flow Net .......................................................... 24
This report has been prepared in an attempt to address the existing water-quality problems in the area in and around Bruni, Texas.
Historical data from shallow aquifers which provide water to municipal well" and private domestic wells in Bruni indicate that ground water in this area contains cerirun trace metal elements such as arsenic, selenium, molybdenum, iron, manganese and some radioactive minerals (uranium, thorium and their daughter products) which occur naturally and in concentrations that are generally above the Texas Department of Health's (TDH) recommended limits for public drinking water standards. In fact, uranium ore is being mined by injection leaching from mines located near Bruni.
Despite this, some individuals question whether the uranium concentration in the ground-water occurs naturally or whether the uranium and other elements detected in the ground water occur because of the mining processes at the Total Minerals and Westinghouse uranium mines.
As a result, the Texas Water Development Board was requested to evaluate the water-quality problems of the ground water produced by the Bruni Water Works. The inquiries were from the Texas Department of Health and Mr. William C. Layton, owner/operator of the Bruni Water Works. Both inquiries requested that the Board determine:
1. If the ground-water contamination in the water-bearing aquifers underlying Bruni is being caused by the uranium mining operations at Total Minerals and Westinghouse;
2. If the aquifers unnerlying Bruni are being dewatered by the uranium mining operations;
3. If there are any aquifers underlying Bruni which contain ground water which is not contaminated with arsenic and uranium compounds;
4. If there are any intervals which contrun good quality ground water; and at what depths they occur;
5. If the Texas Water Development Board can assist in locating sufficient good quality ground water to meet the areas needs; and
6. If the Board can provide any financial assistance to help upgrade the Bruni Water Works water supply and treatment plant.
The unincorporated town of Bruni is located in southeastern Webb County at the junction of State Highway 359 and Farm to Market
e:;,n ...,~ ....... ~_ ....... , .. l. .. nY"" .L .. l .. __ L! __ _ 1.'''-1.. _ _ ,,- __ .l ____ " __ ~ __ '11'117_'_1
Ground-Water Quahty and Availability In Ilnd Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas
MIlt<;h 1991
LOCATION OF STUDY AREA
Population of Bruni is approximately 698, based on 1980 population census and extrapolated to the present.
The economy of Bruni is supported by nearby ranching, uranium mining operations, oil and natural gas drillinwproduction and related industries, commercial water supply services, and the electric utility corporation located less than a mile north of Bruni. There are no industries within the town of Bruni itself.
The active uranium mines are: Total Uranium Leaching Mine plant located one mile north of Bruni immediately west of Highway 2050, and Malapai-Ohem Uranium Mine located east of Bruni. The inactive uranium mines are: The Westinghouse (formerly Wyoming Minerals) Uranium Mine located 7 miles north of Bruni and immediately west of Highway 2050; the Longoria Uranium Mine located 2 miles east of Bruni and just south of Highway 359; and Mobil-Ohern Uranium Mine, all of which are undergoing ground­ water restoration. These mines are shown on Figure 2.
There are two water supply companies which produce and sell raw water commercially for road construction, oil drilling development, and hydrofrac and secondary recovery. These companies are Bruni Water Works and Lowe's Commercial Water Supply.
The people living in the town of Bruni are employed in the oil field operations (production, servicing, and drilling), uranium mining, ranching, retail food stores, teaching-education, and water supply.
There are about 29 residences with private domestic supply wells in Bruni. The wastewater from these residences consists of chlorinated and detergent concentrated laundry water and raw sewage that is disposed of in individual septic and cesspool systems operated and maintained by each resident. These systems can release high sulfates, ammonia, nitrates, phosphates, boron, organic matter, carbon dioxide, and sodium into the shallow aquifers. In some households, these septic tanks and cesspools are hydraulically upgradient of the domestic water supply well(s) and create a potential for contamination of ground water.
The majority of the inhabitants of Bruni obtain their domestic water supply needs from the Bruni Water Works Inc., owned and operated by Mr. William C. Layton. Mr. Layton has two producing wells which supply about 100 home connections. The two wells tap a ground water between depths of 300 and 360 feet. The Bruni Water Works also owns two additional wells which are used exclusively for commercial water supply purposes. These two wells are completed at de ths of 403 feet and 407 feet resoectivelv. The oressure in the
Ground-Water Quality and Availability In lind Around Bruni, Webb County, Texas
MlU'ch 1991
Disposal
Uranium Mine
01134' - --
~~+~_~L~:~~,~\, __ . __ ~Wo:E~B~~9UN!~
EXPLANA nON • Quaternary/Caliche o Goliad Formation o Catahoula Formotion I?J Frio Farmalion o Jackson Group
.......---' Cro .. Section A- A'
WITH LOCATION OF CROSS-SECTION A-A'
water supply lines is generally very low between tbe well head and the individual home connections. Figure 3A shows how these wells are completed. Sometimes the customers experience complete interruption in supply during regular domestic use. Some of the customers furthest from the Bruni Water Works have been very dissatisfied with this constant in-line low water supply pressure and periodic interruptions. Consequently, many have had their own wells drilled. Figure 3B shows how these wells are generally completed. The Bruni school administration owns and operates two wells which are completed to depths of 389 feet and 530 feet respectively. These wells supply water to the school and to the teachers' residences. Water from the well supplying the school buildings has been reported to have a sulfur odor. It is therefore assumed that this deeper well has a significant hydrogen sulfide concentration. Figure 3C also shows how these wells are completed. WeB design and completion methods have a tremendous influence on ground-water chemistry.
Ground water of usable quality for domestic, commercial, and mining injection-recovery processes occur within the area of investigation in rocks of the Frio, Catahula, and Goliad Formations. These rocks subcrop or crop out in an area which strikes in a northeasterly­ southwesterly direction and they dip gently in the east-southeast direction at a gradient of 30 feet per mile. They outcrop approJcimately 11 miles northwest of Bruni and comprise the recharge area for the aqwfers (Figure 2). The stratigraphic relationships of the individual lithologies and their water bearing potential are discussed in Table 1 and illustrated in the cross section A-A' (Figure 4). The areal extent of the cross section is shown on Figure 2.
The Westinghouse mine site is located 7 miles north of Bruni. At this mine, uranium was mined from an ore zone extending from 110 feet to 240 feet below land surface. Figure 5 shows the location of water wells at the mine site, and Table 2 portrays the information concerning each well.
The Total Minerals mine site located 5.5 miles south of the Westinghouse mine and 1.5 miles north of Bruni has a uranium production zone extending from 190 feet to 270 feet below land surface. This production ore zone is believed to be the same geologic unit as the one mined by Westinghouse. Figure 6 shows the permit area for the Total Uranium Leaching Mine site.
Since the Total Minerals mine site boundary is only 1.5 mile north of Bruni, the subsurface geologic stratigraphy at Bruni is assumed to be similar. This is supported by drillers records and geophysical logs and shown on geologic cross section B-B's. The areal extent of the cross section is shown on Figure 7.
The Texas Water Development Board, U. S. Geological Survey, and other governmental entities, as well as private consultants, have gathered ground-water data in parts of Webb and adjacent counties. The more detailed investigations dealing with hydrogeology and 'l"ol!:l1h:lorl C!.,h; ...... 4- ... ;T't 'tXT ..... h'h r" ...... *"'+ •• .... __ 1:~._.J !_ .&.1. ___ ~ ________ J.. ,,-1... ~
Ground-Water Qualily and Availability In and Around Brum, Webb County, Texas
March 1~1
Well Casing
Cloy F e ~ -Ferric Iron
FeS,-Plfite Sond UO, -Uranium Oxide
Shole v - Static Water Level
H ,S - Hyaogen Sulfide CO, - Carbon OioNd.
Figure 3A
(f)
Residen ces
Mined :nterval
------------------------------------------------
------------------------
. . . . . ,. ," ," ." ."
------------: --------------------- ------------------------------
. · .. As. :uo1." . . ' , '.''-''::'': .. 0.. I .... "., ... ' .... , ....... ::;; IF e" "c "c" c"" "c" co:"o -0," 0" ,: .'" .'"., c.':cC CCc:" >. =>1 0..
1
EXPLANAnON
~ Coliche
FeOjFel03 -Iron Oxide Fe-Iron from Well Casing Fel+ -Ferric Iroo
reS ,-P)fite
Figure 3B
Mined Interval
l Sand
Well Casing
UNIT 5
D Grovel
U Qoy
o Sand
B Shale
As -Arsenic
FeO/Fe ,0, -Iron O.ide Fe -Iron from Well Casing Fel+ -Ferric Iron
reS l-P)"ite
UO 2 -Uranium Oxide HIS -Hydrogen Sulfide COl -Carbon DioJdde
\l Static Water Level
..
A Recharge zone
-50
EXPLANATION
• Quaternary/Caliche o Goliad Formatian o Catahoula Formation ~ Frio Formation t2l Jackson Group ® Water Bearing Units
11 F ouiling
Table 1. Ge I OIOQIC Umts and Their Water-Bearing Properties
System Series Maximum
laternary Recent Alluvium 50 Stream-deposited sand, gravel, Alluvium along streams yield vari-
and silt. able amounts of water. Quality varies, but in some places the
Uncanformity water is suitable far domestic use.
rtiary (1) Pliocene I?) Uvalde Gravel 25 Gravel, conglomerate and sand. Not known to yield water.
Reddish sand, caliche, and Sand and conglomerate yield
Pliocene conglomerate with minor variable amounts of water at
Goliad 75 amounts of clay. Sand and shallow depths in the southeastern
Formation conglomerate may be indurated part of the county. Quolity vari-
to quartzitic. able; usually suitable for domestic use.
Unconform ity Chusa Tuff 160- Predom inanrly pyroclastic rocks; Outcrop areas yield very little ond
Member 200 tuffaceous sondstone and in general, highly mineralized
conglomerate, whitish tuff, water. In the sautheastern part of
Miocene I?) Catahoula Soledad grayish and pinkish silicified tuff, the county wells 150 to 400 feet
Formation Volcanic purplish and greenish bentonitic yield considerable quantities of
Conglomerate 675 75 clay. Minor amounts on water, some highly mintities of
ertiary Member nonvolcanic sandstone and clay water, some highly mineralized
are present. Sandstone beds up but some suitable for domestic use
FontTuff 600 to 20 feet thick. and irrigation. Flowing wells oc-
Member cur near Bruni.
Oligocene I?) Frio Formation 200 Greenish and grayish clay and Not known to yield water.
sandy clay.
Grayish, green, and buff clay, Yields variable amounts of highly gray to buff sandy clay, buff to
Jackson Group 360 light- grayish sandstone, light to mineralized water.
white ashy sandstone, and light- Eocene gray towhitevalcanic ash. Ashy
beds contain plant and scanty invertibrate fauna fossils.
Units older than the Jackson Group
900322
0'
-o-OOMESTIC & STOCI( WELL. ...... PU8LtC SUPPLY 80 INOUSTRIAL WELL
9--0. +UNUSEO OR ABANDONED WELL
Figure 5
9a" 50
Well numb." "I" 10 • Tobie 01 W"I" W,III, Bryn, M,ne Srle Aflo. No~.mb.r 1976"
o ,,' MII .. E
I
la, l. .- Table 2 Records of Water Wells In the Study Area
Texas Water Development Board Ground Water Data System
(ASINe< AN) SClfEN DATA ."nl LEVEL
~-.---.------------- 'uTllU)E ------------ Dm "P'" CASING OIAM- T ... lOT •• un Of , .... MEASURE- .. nt:JD Of lIS. ,,",- Of WELL (II UU OEPTH DEPTH IIUIING 5U:fACI MfNT faa .. " lifT AHJ Of
WELL ..... DlIUU puno 1ft. ) SCIEf,.,. liN.) 1fT. ) (fT .) ... " (fT.) LSD (fT.) ...... WATEI IEMBS
---------------------. -------------------- ------ ----- ---- ----- ---------- -------------.--------------------- ,4-25-601 Robert .. rshall Dillard .Ied 1971 ". e • • 76 121GOlD 15. -15,00 06-29-1'71 P. S
S S " ••• ·'6.50 UH4-19t9
4-15-701 ", .. ndO lenavldel WIIII •• son Drilling 1971 ... t22CJCK .lO N u ~ ...
4-U-702 .u_ndo Benavides .MOlina 197.) ... e • 122CJCK ". " 4-26-40. Robert Mlnnall Welty Wl'ter wells I'''' ... e • • .14 IlXTHI. 12 • ·".00 11-17_1176 P. S
S • 11. .2. -5.).'0 12-14-1'"
c • 125 14. S • 14' .,.
4-26-701 Westinghouse ElectriC .... ertt hter well 1915 ... C • • ... 122Cnt.. .,. -70.00 N-25-It75 Sf N
COrporat Ion Drilling 10
4-26-702 west Il'IGhouse f'leelr Ie SIS 122CJat OlD -1011.15 12-IO-lt15 S • U
torporlllon -15',00 12-It-Itet 7. ,
4-211-703 WestinghOuse Ueetrlc 391 122C,at 12. -170.00 o.t-0.4-1'" , . u corporlt Ion
'-33-10' Olton lurll •. 5.C. Wled Dr IlIlng .913 ". C 171 12"JatS 1ST _176.00 06-14-1973 N U .Isured yield 6.3 GPa wltfl 70 teel
"-'" , 171 213 -167." 01-0'-1911 drlwdown In 1911.
e 213 242 , '" m
e 2S6 219 , 2 .. ". 1-33-102 Oilton lI:ural •. S.C. oa ... ld MOrales 1975 JO. e D '94 12",OI;S IS7 -155.00 01-11-1975 N U , .91 us
D 24' , .. 1-33-103 'lO 124JCKS
1-33-104 iii'S. GUslllro Garcia 122CTHL IS7 S • U
WELL GONE'
1-1<1-401 Urry Lowe
1-)4-4.' Tota' M'nerall corDOntlon
1-)4-4" Tota' M'neull COrporltlon
1-34-410 Tot., .. Inenls corpont1on
Wled Drilling
YOUnt
Voun"
Youn,
Table 2 - continued Records of Water Wells In the Study Area
CASINC AN) SCRUN DATA
CC*- Of WUl
SCRUN ClN.) (fT. I (fT. I .... IT
<
<
< , <
<
<
< , <
6 l15 l20
11 0 27
7 0 n6
1 236 14'
N
.EMUS
Table 2 - continued Records of Water Wells In the Study Area
CASING 1H) SClEfN DATA W,nfl: llyn
---------------------- AU I 1\J)f ------------. om Of'''' CASU":; DIM- TDI' lOT • ..,nl Of , .... aEASWE- afTlG) Of USI
""- Of WUL DO flU DfPTH DEPTH lUI I N(; 5'AfACf .. NT fl. OAn lift AIIO Of
WEll OINt. PlILU. 'l!:TfD .(IT. ) sellEN liN.) 1fT.' efT. 1 \.NIT (fl. I LSD (FT.) ...... .nEl _EM"'S
-----------------.---- ----._------------- ------ -.-.- ----- ----- --------- ---.-.--------------------------- '-34-411 Tota' llineral. , .. , 2t) C • tI. 12XTlt.. , .. -106.60 06-N-f'" • U
corporatlonl S ... '" -72.3. 12-01-, .. ,
'_3._501 ArtUfO lIenavldl!!s 1935 ". C • 112CTH.. '" -79.3. 11-12-1'" 5 • H
••• 1-34-502 AltlUO T, Benavides 51. HOWell •• ter •• 7. '" C • '" 1l2CTH.. ,., -61.00 01-06-1'19 S • H
well Drilling S '" '" 1-34-101 lowe. water sales SUI HDale:II water t97t ". 112CTtt.. '" -32. ,. 05-07-1'7' S • C
well Drllllni , 1-).1-02 LOtIe. waler Slies frank tIJe,ta , .. , ". C 6 • ". 122CTH.. '" -ao.OO O'-Ot-I .. , , . C
-l3.3. 11·1.).19 .. , I-Sot·103 Lowes water sa Ie. D. D. DIvis "I' ... C 6 • .,. 'l'2CTtt. '"~ ·1 •. 00 0.-20·1 .. 1 C , 6 .,. ,sa ,
C 6 ss. m
1-,..-104 Lowes waler sales frank Huerta 1912 , .. C • • ". Il'XJat '" , . c , • ". '" 7.5.
C • .,. II.
1-54·'05 Lowes water sale. HDWeII water well 1915 SO. C 6 • '" 1l'2CTK. '" S • C
Drilling s • ". ... , c • ... 44 •
S 6 ... .9 •
C 6 ... , .. 1·41-101 Roberta cafcla 1930 C • 1l'2CJat .9. S • S
1-41-201 John Pull! 1922 'DO 12tGOlD .96 ·17."0 12-"-1919 S • S
.1S
... II .. , , -,
+
TOTAL URANIUM MINE WITH
" 0 ., CD 240 L -n ., o 300
~~\ "0C,
EXPLANA liON • Quaternary/Caliche D Goliad r ormation D Cotohoulo Formation
Caliche Th kicnoss Inferred
SCALE
Source: Total Uinerals Carp. Pef1TIit Ap~icotion. 1987
-------~~-------.~------- --------~------.-.~----------- -,--------------- -- _ .. _.--------- --
This investigation was conducted by personnel of the Planning Division of the Texas Water Devleopment Board, under the general direction of Dr. Tommy Knowles (P.E.), Division Director, Henry Alvarez, Chief of the Ground Water Section, and Phil Nordstrom of the Ground Water Monitoring Unit.
The author conducted the field and site hydrogeologic investigation, water quality data interpretation, and literature research. Quality assurance of the report review and management was provided by Robert Flores who conducted substantial editing of the draft, and John B. Ashworth, both geologists with the Ground Water Section. Finally, many thanks go to Steve…