New Jersey Water Science Center
Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.
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Investigation of Groundwater Conditions and Related Potential Threats to Water Supply and Surface-Water Resources in the Atlantic Coastal Watersheds of South-Central New Jersey
Project Title:NJ195 Investigation of Groundwater Conditions and Related Potential Threats to Water Supply and Surface-Water Resources in the Atlantic Coastal Watersheds of South-Central New Jersey
The overall objectives for the project are to develop an improved hydrologic database and analytical tools for resource management and to apply these tools to improve the present understanding of factors controlling groundwater flow and saltwater movement in confined and unconfined aquifer. Specific water supply objectives in the study area include the following.
Statement of Problem
Anticipated growth in the coastal watersheds of Ocean County, New Jersey has heightened concerns about the future availability of water supply and potential effects of human activities on fluvial and estuarine resources. Maintaining adequate quantity and quality of groundwater available for discharge to supply wells and surface water in these areas are interrelated concerns for water supply and watershed managers.
Effective resource management in the area will require an improved understanding of the controls on groundwater flow between unconfined and confined aquifers and the exchange of water between the unconfined aquifer and surface water. Concerns about the quantity and quality of groundwater can be addressed through the development and application of groundwater flow models that integrate knowledge of hydrologic systems and historical and projected human activities. A groundwater flow model of the northern part of the study area (Metedeconk and Toms River watersheds) was previously developed to address prior water-supply issues. The existing model will be extended to include additional communities in southern Ocean County and expanded to include the deeper confined Atlantic City 800-foot sand and Piney Point aquifers.
Strategy and Approach
The investigation will be approached in two phases. The initial phase of the study will be the collection of field data and available information needed to characterize hydrologic conditions in southern Ocean County. It will also include the development of modeling tools needed to facilitate the analysis. The second phase will be to interpret the data collected in the initial phase and incorporate these interpretations into the modeling process. Scenarios of future water use will be formulated and incorporated into the groundwater flow model to evaluate present conditions and likely responses to future stresses, including changes in groundwater water levels, changes in groundwater contributions of freshwater and contaminant loads to surface water, and the potential for movement of salty groundwater into aquifer production zones.