New Jersey Water Science Center
Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.
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Investigation of Potential Threats to Water Supply from the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer System in Salem and Eastern Gloucester Counties, New Jersey
Project Title: NJ185 Investigation of Potential Threats to Water Supply from the Potomac-Raritan-Magothy Aquifer System in Salem and Eastern Gloucester Counties, New Jersey
The objectives of this proposed project are to:
Statement of Problem
Growth in Salem and western Gloucester Counties has spurred interest in additional withdrawal from the PRM. Several deleterious consequences of additional withdrawals are possible. First potentiometric surfaces of the aquifer system will decline in the area. Second, the decline, if of sufficient magnitude, may adversely affect water levels within nearby Water Supply Critical Area #2. Third, the potentiometric surface decline, particularly from specific withdrawals near (both laterally or vertically) saline water, may cause saltwater intrusion to wells and degrade well water quality, possible beyond potable water standards. Effective management of the water resources of the area by NJDEP requires the quantification of the amount of potentiometric-surface decline and the evaluation of circumstances that may lead to saltwater intrusion. Additionally, the quantification of effects of PRM withdrawals in the State of Delaware on water levels in the Salem and western Gloucester County area must be determined so that those effects can be accounted for in the water-management planning process.
Strategy and Approach
This investigation will be approached in two phases. The intent of Phase I will be to use existing tools to perform an evaluation of water-level decline resulting from known increases in withdrawals from the PRM in the Salem and western Gloucester County area. Water-level changes will be examined in the study area as well as in the adjacent parts of Critical Area #2. Preliminary results will be discussed with NJDEP-Bureau of Water Allocation. The intent of Phase II is to focus in on problem areas and to determine effects of pumpage from Delaware on the study area. One of the results of first phase will be to identify areas where withdrawal increases will occur in proximity to saline water. Tools will be developed to assess the potential for saltwater intrusion at those locations. The findings and implications of the investigation will be discussed with NJDEP-Bureau of Water Allocation and a report will be prepared.