The Delaware Geological Survey led a multi-agency, state and federal effort (including DelDOT, DNREC, USGS, and NOAA) to secure funds from the Hurricane Sandy Relief appropriation to collect new, high-quality LiDAR for the entire state of Delaware. LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances from a source to a target object. Typically, a LiDAR device is attached to the bottom of a plane and is pointed at the ground.
Monitoring wells and groundwater sensors were installed and monitored in and around Holts Landing State Park on the Indian River Bay, eastern Sussex County, Delaware, between October 2009 and August 2012. Data from test drilling, geophysical logging, geophysical surveys, and well testing characterized the hydrogeological framework and spatial and temporal patterns of water pressure, temperature, and salinity in the shallow, unconfined Columbia aquifer. The work revealed a plume of freshened groundwater extending more than 650 ft into the bay from the shoreline.
Geologic maps at the DGS are created as primary deliverables of a project and as derivatives of other projects. Primary deliverables are mainly those that are the result of outside funding sources such as the AASG-USGS cooperative StateMap. Derivative maps are those that have primary data collected for reasons other than geologic mapping can be used to create geologic maps or that geologic maps are derivative products of a project rather than the primary goal of a project.
During an extreme rainfall event that occurred September 29-30, 2016, more than 12 inches in one day, caused the water table to rise over 5 feet near Harbeson, Delaware. A subsequent 3.6 inch storm on October 8 - 9 caused the water table to rise above land surface and flood the area for nearly 8 hours.
DGS is continuing a collaboration with climate scientist Kevin Brinson (DEOS) to develop and test methods to estimate and map annual and seasonal distribution of ET for Sussex County, Delaware. Remotely sensed data from Landsat 7 ETM+ and MODIS platforms will be used to estimate regional energy balance and water flux. These estimates are calibrated by comparison to ET estimates determined by direct point measurements (Eddy Covariance and atmometer) and models driven by meteorological data such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, and soil moisture. The results have the potential to improve accuracy and precision of ET models and will be valuable for efforts that use water budgets for resource management, agriculture, wetland assessment, and research.
A recently released article “Hydrogeologic controls on groundwater discharge and nitrogen loads in a coastal watershed” by the Journal of Hydrology details the results of a joint groundwater simulation and water quality sampling study that focused on submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to Indian River and Rehoboth Bays, part of Delaware Inland Bays.
The Delaware Geological Survey released a new technical report entitled “Groundwater Quality and Monitoring of Rapid Infiltration Basin Systems, Theory and Field Experiments at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware” which was prepared by A. Scott Andres and Changming He of the Delaware Geological Survey, Edward Walther of the South Water Management District, Florida, Müserref Türkmen of the Izmir Water and Sewerage Administration, Turkey, and Anastasia Chirnside and William Ritter of the University of Delaware. DGS Bulletin 21C documents the results of a detailed study of groundwater quality at a rapid infiltration basin system.
A rapid infiltration basin system (RIBS) consists of several simple and relatively standard technologies; collection and conveyance of wastewater, treatment, and discharge to an unlined excavated or constructed basin. By design, the effluent quickly infiltrates through the unsaturated or vadose zone to the water table. During infiltration, some contaminants may be treated by biological and/or geochemical processes and diluted by dispersion and diffusion.