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Project Proposal for 2001

Continuing Project Work Plan - FY 2001

Project title: A retrospective and critical review of aquifer storage and recovery sites and conceptual frameworks of the Upper Floridan aquifer in south Florida
Project chief: Ronald S. Reese
Region/Division/Team/Section: WRD, SR, Florida District, Miami Subdistrict
Email: rsreese@usgs.gov
Phone: 305 717 5821
Fax: 305 717 5801
Mail address: U.S. Geological Survey, 9100 NW 36th St. , Suite 107, Miami, FL, 33178

Program(s): Place Based Programs
Ecosystem: South Florida
Project start date: Oct. 1, 1999
Project end date: Sept. 30, 2001


Project/task summary: Regional aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) is proposed as a cost-effective water-supply alternative that can help meet water-supply needs of agri-cultural and municipal users and for the Everglades ecosystem. ASR technology has been tested and implemented in some areas of south Florida; several ASR pilot and operational facilities are in early phases of development. ASR wells have been constructed at about 24 sites in an area that extends southward from Charlotte, Glades, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie Counties. Two ASR facilities are operational (Boynton Beach—Palm Beach County and the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority—DeSoto County). One regional pilot facil-ity site has been selected for further testing and evaluation near the Hillsboro Canal in Palm Beach County, and other sites located along the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee are being considered. Elsewhere in south Florida, the status of utility-based ASR facilities ranges from planning to operational stages.

Statement of the problem: Few regional investigations of south Florida have been conducted, and the focus of those studies often addressed separate and often unrelated issues. Lacking a regional ASR framework to aid the decision-making process, ASR well sites in south Florida are analogous to "wildcat" wells often drilled during early exploratory phases of oil-field development. Little effort has been made to link information collected from each site as part of a regional analysis.

Primary factors driving the selection and placement of ASR wells in south Florida appear to be land availability, source-water quality, and source-water proximity (preexisting surface-water canal systems or surficial aquifer system well fields). It is uncertain whether hydrogeologic, hydrologic, and hydrochemical conditions at these same sites are regionally optimal.

Only a few regional or local hydrogeologic studies of the Upper Floridan aquifer have been conducted in south Florida, which include Bush and Johnston (1988), (Meyer) 1986, Miller (1986) Reese (1994), Reese (1999, in press), and Reese and Memberg (1999, in press). These studies did not consider whether ASR was regionally feasible.

Project objectives and strategy:

Goals Approach
Assess the strengths and weakness of available geologic, hydrogeologic, hydrologic, hydraulic, and hydrochemical information at existing ASR sites Characterize existing south Florida ASR sites. Synthesize site specific information on the geology, hydrogeology, hydrology, and hydrochemistry at each site
Critical review of existing conceptual geologic and hydrogeologic frameworks Conduct a review of existing reports and data, identify critical data needs, and evaluate potential strengths and weakness of current conceptual models
Identify factors which locally or regionally constrain the efficient recovery and storage of water within the Upper Floridan aquifer Conduct a comparative analysis of differences between the different sites; identify common threads, technical issues or potential problems which may have been encountered and may have influenced the level of success of storage and recovery
Identify successful techniques and methodologies that private and public operators have employed during the development of ASR facilities in south Florida. Evaluate and identify problems and weaknesses to methods employed Requires interaction with governmental agencies and private industry to gain insight regarding specific issues, problems, and successes


FY 2000 scientific accomplishments:

  • An inventory of all ASR sites in southern Florida was made, including their target interval formation, type of source water being used, and current status.
  • An inventory of data available at all ASR sites, including site identification, location, construction data, geophysical log data, aquifer test data, core data, and water-quality data, is nearly complete.
  • Several GIS map illustrations have been completed. One shows where ASR wells and facilities have been constructed or are planned in South Florida. Others show key parameters for the purpose of comparison of ASR facilities, such as the thickness and diameter of the constructed open borehole.
  • Collection and compilation of cycle testing data from published reports, consulting reports, and monthly operationing reports was begun. Recovery efficiencies for most of the sites have been determined; however, at many of the sites only 2 or 3 cycles have been conducted and the recovery efficiency determined thus far could be unreliable.
  • Hydrogeologic tops in the Floridan aquifer system from three reports by Reese and others on the aquifer system were collated into one table for the purpose of constructing maps covering most of southern Florida. A contour map showing the depth of the approximate top of the Floridan aquifer system (base of the Hawthorn Group) was completed.

FY 2000 outcomes: Some ASR sites having performance problems or potential for problems have been identified. Knowledge of the factors contributing to these problems can assist municipalites and regulators in determining optimal site selection or contruction methods or both for future ASR sites.

FY 2000 products completed or nearly completed: Several GIS map illustrations have been completed (See description above).

FY 2000 stakeholder meetings or other outreach activities: Attendance at ASR issue team meetings, USGS-SFWMD ASR meeting, and workshop put on by the Army Corp of Engineers in Jackonsville concerning the implementation of ASR in the restudy (February 3 and 4, 2000). Met with Montgomery Watson, a consulting firms involved with ASR facilities construction and operation.

Visits to FDEP Underground Injection Control offices in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee were made for the purpose of collecting monthly operating reports and other data on ASR sites. And most of the ASR facilities in southern Florida were visited for the purpose of collecting additional information, checking site location, and opening and maintaining contact.

WORK PLAN (Time line FY 2000 to project end)

Activity FY00 FY01
Status (projected through FY’00) or sheduled completion % complete        
Assemble and inventory data from existing reports and unpublished documents from previous studies and current ASR projects 80% X      
Characterize source and native waters, well design and mechanical issues, local hydrology and hydrogeology 80% X      
Construct maps using GIS, each showing an attribute or attributes for each ASR site 50% X X    
Identify strengths and weaknesses of site, what problems were encountered, what did they learn, what would could have been done differently 60% X X    
Evaluate available production and cycle testing data (pressure, water salinity, and so forth). Determine recovery efficiencies. Compare with regional spatial permeability information and other hydrogeologic data and factors 60% X X    
Evaluate existing geologic and hydrogeologic frameworks; identify critical data needs 60% X X    
Report Preparation:
Write topical and annotated outline 0% X      
Write draft report 0% X X    
Revise and review 0%   X X  
Publish and distribute 0%       X


This analysis will provide scientists and ASR decision-makers involved with additional tools and data necessary to make informed decisions that incorporate constraining geologic, hydrogeologic, and hydrologic factors. Such an analysis may also help identify hydrogeologic, hydrologic, and hydrochemical criteria which make a particular area ideal for ASR development. This analysis may provide direction to future research activities.

The following hypothetical example illustrates a potential outcome. An existing ASR site has been identified where the confining units that underlie the principal target zone are comparatively thin or fractured; upwelling of underlying saline water contained within deeper water bearing rocks is likely during ASR recovery operation. An outgrowth of such an analysis is that regional mapping efforts subsequently focus on identifying adjoining areas where the underlying confining zone is relatively thick or unfractured.

FY 2001 activities: shown above.

FY 2000 deliverables/products: Illustrations (maps and tables) characterizing ASR wells and facilities in South Florida have been constructed. They will show key attributes for each ASR site for the purpose of comparisons between sites.

FY 2001 outreach: Participation in the South Florida Ecosystem Forum and decision-support presentations at ASR stakeholder meetings. Will meet with private and public concerns involved in ASR activities to identify on-site issues and problems.

New directions or major changes for FY 2001: Duration of project cut back from 3 years to 2 years.


Specific name or position title Team/Division
Ronald S. Reese, Hydrologist WRD, Miami
R.A. Renken, Hydrologist WRD, Miami
Raul Patterson, Hydrologist WRD, Miami
Kim Swidarski, Illustrator WRD, Miami
Rachel Loveman, student WRD, Miami

Major equipment/facility needs: no new needs.

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Last updated: 09 April, 2014 @ 10:56 AM (KP)