Journal article "Hydrogeologic controls on groundwater discharge and nitrogen loads in a coastal watershed"
RI74 Locating Ground-Water Discharge Areas in Rehoboth and Indian River Bays and Indian River, Delaware Using Landsat 7 Imagery
Delaware’s Inland Bays in southeastern Sussex County are valuable natural resources that have been experiencing environmental degradation since the late 1960s. Stresses on the water resource include land use practices, modifications of surface drainage, ground-water pumping, and wastewater disposal. One of the primary environmental problems in the Inland Bays is nutrient over-enrichment. Nitrogen and phosphorous loads are delivered to the bays by ground water, surface water, and air. Nitrogen loading from ground-water discharge is one of the most difficult to quantify; therefore, locating these discharge areas is a critical step toward mitigating this load to the bays. Landsat 7 imagery was used to identify ground-water discharge areas in Indian River and Rehoboth and Indian River bays in Sussex County, Delaware. Panchromatic, near-infrared, and thermal bands were used to identify ice patterns and temperature differences in the surface water, which are indicative of ground-water discharge. Defining a shoreline specific to each image was critical in order to eliminate areas of the bays that were not representative of open water. Atmospheric correction was not necessary due to low humidity conditions during image acquisition. Ground-water discharge locations were identified on the north shore of Rehoboth Bay (west of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal), Herring and Guinea creeks, the north shore of Indian River, and the north shore of Indian River Bay near Oak Orchard.
The results of this investigation of the Columbia aquifer in coastal Sussex County, Delaware, provide some of the data necessary to evaluate the condition of the area's primary source of fresh water. Chemical analyses of water samples from domestic, agricultural, public, and monitoring wells document the effects of past and present land use practices. Groundwater flow paths and flow systems are inferred from flow-net analysis, ground-water chemistry, and isotopic composition.
The results of water-budget and flow-net model calculations indicate that the rate of fresh ground-water discharge into Rehoboth and Indian River bays is in the range of 21 to 43 million gallons per day. The estimates should be used only as gross indicators of actual conditions because of data gaps and the simplifying assumptions used in the models. However, the estimated discharge rates are significant and useful studies of the water budget of the Bays.
B16 Ground-Water Resources of the Piney Point and Cheswold Aquifers in Central Delaware as Determined by a Flow Model
A quasi three-dimensional model was constructed to simulate the response of the Piney Point and Cheswold aquifers underlying Kent County, Delaware to ground-water withdrawals. The model included the Magothy, Piney Point, Cheswold, and unconfined aquifers, and was calibrated using historical pumpage and water-level data. Model calibration was accomplished through the use of both steady-state and transient-state simulations.
The unconfined aquifer in central and southeastern Delaware occurs as a southward-thickening blanket of fine to coarse sand, and is recharged almost totally by precipitation and discharge is principally by seepage to streams, bays, and the ocean.
Sussex County is in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Its relatively flat, featureless topography is characterized by two terrace-like surfaces; the lower one rises from sea level to about 40 feet above sea level, and the higher one rises inland from 40 to about 60 feet above sea level. Peculiar landforms of low relief, broad ovals, similar to the "Carolina bays," and to the "New Jersey basins" are common on the sandy flat divides in Sussex County. Hydrologically, they are sites of much ground-water discharge, by evapotranspiration, from meadow and marsh of lush vegetation.