The Coastal aquifer system found in Ocean City, Maryland was studied over a span of roughly 43 years in order to document long-term water-level data. The study began in 1973 and ended last September and was conducted by the MD-DE-DC Water Science Center.
Ocean City, Maryland
The Maryland town derives its municipal water supply from several aquifers in the Coastal Plain. Because Ocean City is located on a barrier beach, there have been very few practical alternatives for a water-supply source.
In the early 1970’s, elevated chloride concentrations were detected in several of the Town’s water-supply wells. While chlorides are harmless at low levels, well water high in sodium chloride can damage plants if used for gardening or irrigation. It can also give drinking water an unpleasant taste.
Investigations determined that the high chloride levels were a result of saltwater intrusion and in response, Ocean City modified its pumping schedule to moderate the drawdown effects of its wells. The long-term groundwater monitoring program was instituted to detect and document the impacts of these withdrawals on groundwater levels and chloride concentrations throughout production wells and observation wells.
The Study/ Approach
A total of 23 observation wells were maintained by the USGS MD-DE-DC WSC. Following USGS protocols, water-level data were collected from 18 observation wells by electrical tape and 5 wells by continuous water-level recorders. All data was stored in the USGS National Water Information System database.
The data is available to the general public and you can access it here online.
Environmental Services in the Mid-Atlantic Region
For more than 40 years Earth Data Incorporated has been working to support the efforts of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Maryland Geological Survey by providing a broad range of field-oriented hydrogeologic consulting services. Earth Data has completed many projects investigating the cause and impacts of saltwater intrusion. Our hydrogeologists, geologists and water resource engineers develop responsible solutions to address critical groundwater and well siting, construction, efficiency and operational challenges that aim to preserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource.
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore just a short drive from Washington DC, and Baltimore, Earth Data employs professional and technical specialists including GIS/geospatial professionals, hydrogeologists, geologists, water resource engineers, licensed well drillers, environmental scientists, field technicians and construction inspectors. Our team routinely services public and private clients directly and in supporting roles in other local and national Architectural and Engineering (A&E) firms.
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