OFR 2019¢â‚¬â€œ1076: Baseline Groundwater Hydrology and Water...

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  • U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

    Open-File Report 2019–1076

    Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management

    Baseline Groundwater Hydrology and Water Quality In and Around Bluff, Utah

  • Cover photo: View showing groundwater-fed hanging gardens east of Bluff, Utah. Bluff Sandstone overlies thin-bedded Summerville Formation. Photograph taken by Nora Nelson, U.S. Geological Survey, October 25, 2017.

  • Baseline Groundwater Hydrology and Water Quality In and Around Bluff, Utah

    By Olivia L. Miller

    Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management

    Open-File Report 2019–1076

    U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

  • U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia: 2019

    For more information on the USGS—the Federal source for science about the Earth, its natural and living resources, natural hazards, and the environment—visit https://www.usgs.gov or call 1–888–ASK–USGS.

    For an overview of USGS information products, including maps, imagery, and publications, visit https://store.usgs.gov.

    Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

    Although this information product, for the most part, is in the public domain, it also may contain copyrighted materials as noted in the text. Permission to reproduce copyrighted items must be secured from the copyright owner.

    Suggested citation: Miller, O.L., 2019, Baseline groundwater hydrology and water quality in and around Bluff, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1076, 24 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191076.

    ISSN 2331-1258 (online)

    U.S. Department of the Interior DAVID BERNHARDT, Secretary

    U.S. Geological Survey James F. Reilly II, Director

    http://www.usgs.gov http://store.usgs.gov https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191076

  • iii

    Acknowledgments

    Funding for this study was provided by the Bureau of Land Management. Bluff Water Works and well owners are gratefully acknowledged for granting permission to sample their wells.

  • iv

    Contents Abstract ...........................................................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................................1

    Purpose and Scope ..............................................................................................................................3 Study Area..............................................................................................................................................3 Determining Baseline Conditions ......................................................................................................3

    Methods...........................................................................................................................................................5 Establishing Baseline Water-Quality Conditions .............................................................................5 Determining Groundwater Flow Direction, Travel Times, and Age ..............................................6

    Groundwater Hydrology and Water Quality ............................................................................................10 Physical Properties, Major Ions, Trace Elements, and Nutrients ...............................................10 Dissolved Hydrocarbon Gases .........................................................................................................16 Hydrogen and Oxygen Isotope Ratios .............................................................................................18 Groundwater Flow Direction, Travel Times, and Age ...................................................................20

    Conclusions and Future Monitoring .........................................................................................................22 References Cited..........................................................................................................................................22

    Figures

    1. Map showing study area, existing oil and gas wells, proposed production wells, and water wells with water-level and water-quality data, in and around Bluff, Utah ......2

    2. Diagram showing generalized stratigraphy and aquifer systems in the study area in and around Bluff, Utah .............................................................................................................4

    3. Graphs showing physical properties and concentrations of major ions, and selected trace elements and nutrients in water samples collected in and around Bluff, Utah, for this study compared to pre-existing data ....................................................13

    4. Graphs showing statistical distribution of physical properties, major ions, and selected trace elements and nutrients in filtered and unfiltered water samples collected from wells, springs, and surface-water sites in and around Bluff, Utah .........14

    5. Graphs showing bromide and chloride concentrations in water samples collected from the principal bedrock aquifers, San Juan River, and the adjacent alluvial aquifer in and around Bluff, Utah, between 1992 and 2017, compared to bromide and chloride concentrations in oil-field brines from the Aneth Oil Field ...........16

    6. Graphs showing the isotopic composition of groundwater and surface-water samples collected in and around Bluff, Utah, in relation to the global and Salt Lake Valley meteoric water lines and the isotopic composition of groundwater, surface-water, and precipitation samples, and oil-field brines in relation to the global and Salt Lake Valley meteoric water lines .................................................................19

    7. Map showing potentiometric surface contours from water-level measurements made between 2012 and 2017 at wells in and around Bluff, Utah ......................................21

  • v

    Tables

    1. Locations of groundwater and surface-water sites in and around Bluff, Utah, and date range for which general chemistry, dissolved hydrocarbon gas, hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratio, and water-level data were compiled or collected ....................7

    2. Physical properties of water samples collected from selected wells in the principal bedrock aquifers and from the San Juan River in and around Bluff, Utah, December 4 to 7, 2017 ......................................................................................................11

    3. Concentrations of major ions, and selected trace elements and nutrients in water samples collected from selected wells in the principal bedrock aquifers and from the San Juan River in and around Bluff, Utah, December 4 to 7, 2017 .............12

    4. Summary statistics for selected chemical constituents for which drinking-water standards have been established from water samples collected in and around Bluff, Utah, compared to drinking-water standards .............................................................15

    5. Composition of dissolved gases in water samples collected from selected wells in the principal bedrock aquifers and from the San Juan River in and around Bluff, Utah, December 4 to 7, 2017 ...........................................................................................17

    6. Hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios of water samples collected from selected wells in the principal bedrock aquifers and from the San Juan River in and around Bluff, Utah, December 4 to 7, 2017 .............................................................................18

    Conversion Factors

    U.S. customary units to International System of Units

    Multiply By To obtain

    Length

    foot (ft) 0.3048 meter (m) mile (mi) 1.609 kilometer (km)

    Flow rate

    foot per day (ft/d) 0.3048 meter per day (m/d)

    Temperature in degrees Celsius (°C) can be converted to degrees Fahrenheit (°F) as follows:

    °F = (1.8 × °C) + 32.

    Temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (°F) can be converted to degrees Celsius (°C) as follows:

    °C = (°F – 32) / 1.8.

    Datums Horizontal coordinate information is referenced to the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).

    Vertical coordinate information is referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88).

    Altitude, as used in this report, refers to distance above the vertical datum.

  • vi

    Supplemental Information Specific conductance is given in microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius (µS/cm at 25 °C).

    Concentrations of chemical constituents in water are given in either milligrams per liter (mg/L) or micrograms per liter (µg/L).

    Radiochemical concentrations are given in units of picocurie per liter (pCi/L).

    Abbreviations 14C carbon-14

    CO2 carbon dioxide

    δ13C delta carbon-13

    δ18O delta oxygen-18

    δ2H delta deuterium

    MCL maximum contaminant level

    NWIS National Water Information System

    pMC percent modern carbon

    SDWIS Safe Drinking Water Information System

    SMCL secondary maximum contaminant level

    USGS U.S. Geological Survey

  • vii

    Well d

    Well

    b

    1 mile 1.6 kilometers

    T. 40 S.

    123456

    121110987

    131415161718