Development of a Procedure to Evaluate Groundwater Quality and Potential Sources of Contamination in the East Texas Basin
Description: This study contributes a procedure, based on data analysis and geostatistical methods, to evaluate the distribution of chemical ratios and differentiate natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources of groundwater quality in the East Texas Basin. Four aquifers were studied, Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo and Wilcox. In this study, Carrizo- Wilcox is considered as one aquifer, and Sparta-Queen City as another. These aquifers were divided into depth categories, 0-150 feet for Sparta-Queen City and 300-600 feet and 600-900 feet for Carrizo-Wilcox in order to identify individual sources of contamination. Natural sources include aquifer mineral make up, salt domes and lignite beds. Major anthropogenic sources include lignite and salt dome mining and oil-gas production. Chemical ratios selected were Na/Cl, Ca/Cl, Mg/Cl, SO4/Cl, (Na+Cl)/TDS, SO4/Ca and (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K). Ratio distributions and their relationships were examined to evaluate physical-chemical processes occurring in the study area. Potential contaminant sources were used to divide the Basin into three areas: Area 1 to the east, Area 2 in the west and Area 3 in the center. Bivariate analysis was used to uncover differences between the areas. The waters in Area 1 are potentially impacted primarily from oil field waters. Sources present in Area 2 include lignite beds and oil field operations. Area 3 is the cap rock of salt domes that can contain gypsum and anhydrite. Based on the exploratory data analysis (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K), and SO4/Ca ratios were chosen for geostatistical analysis. Chemical ratios that provided indications of cation exchange, salt domes and oil fields were (Na+Cl)/TDS, (Ca+Mg)/(Na+K) and SO4/Ca. In the Sparta-Queen City 150 zone the procedure did not provide a good method for differentiating between contaminant sources. However, the procedure was effective to indicate impacted ground water in the Carrizo-Wilcox 600 and 900 foot zones.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Alderman, John H.