Description: Conventional approaches to characterize aquifers at hazardous waste sites rely heavily on the installation of monitoring wells, hydraulic testing, and sampling and analysis of groundwater for contaminant concentrations. The use of geochemical techniques to determine relationships among aquifers in environmental investigations is limited, in part, because of a generally held view that these techniques may not be useful for shallow aquifers. In this paper, the authors discuss the use of (a) major ion compositions, (b) stable isotope ratios of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon, and (c) the abundance of tritium to identify multiple aquifers, to establish the lateral extent of aquitards, and to determine hydraulic interconnections among aquifers at two hazardous waste sites. Experience with these and ongoing investigations at several other sites demonstrates that carefully conducted geochemical sampling and analysis of limited samples of groundwater provide an effective tool for hydrogeologic characterization in a variety of geologic settings.
Date: April 1, 1994
Creator: Aggarwal, P. K.; Burton, J. C. & Rose, C. M.
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