Salt-Water Encroachment in Aquifers Near the Houston Ship Channel, Texas




Jorgensen DG

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Interpretations based on analyses of inorganic constituents, dissolved organic carbon, and tritium in ground water and surface waters indicate that the Houston Ship Channel is the source of salt water that has been detected in shallow wells between Baytown and Houston, Texas. Analyses of the ratios of the stable isotopes of carbon, sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen were inconclusive as to the source of the salt water, but were consistent with the hypothesis that the ship channel is the source. Estimates of the amount of vertical leakage indicate that the quantity of salt water encroaching from the surface or near surface to the Chicot aquifer, including leakage from the Houston Ship Channel, is not sufficient to appreciably alter the inorganic chemical quality of the ground water in any large segment of the aquifer. The effects of other contaminants, particularly organic substances, are not known. (Woodard-USGS)




Aquifer characteristics, Aquifers, Channels, Chemical analysis, Chicot Aquifer, Evaluation, Groundwater movement, Gulf of Mexico, Houston, Houston Ship Channel, Leakage, Oxygen, Path of pollutants, Saline water intrusion, Sea water, Surface water, SW 0890 Estuaries, SW 2040 Groundwater management, SW 3020 Sources and fate of pollution, Texas, Water wells, Wells