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Unconsolidated Aquifers of Upstate New York


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The most productive aquifers in upstate New York consist of unconsolidated deposits of sand and gravel that occupy major river and stream valleys or lake plains and terraces. Ground water in these aquifers occurs under water-table (unconfined) or artesian (confined) conditions. Municipalities, industries, and farms have been built over many of these aquifers because they typically form flat areas that are suitable for development and generally provide an ample ground-water supply. This development, coupled with the high permeability of these deposits and shallow depth to the water table, makes these aquifers particularly susceptible to contamination from point sources such as landfills and petroleum storage and nonpoint sources such as urban and agricultural runoff.

To enhance and promote proper development, management, and protection of the unconsolidated aquifers of upstate New York, the United States Geological Survey has completed hydrogeologic mapping projects in cooperation with New York State and local agencies. The distribution and hydrogeologic characteristics of the unconsolidated aquifers are presented at the 1:250,000 scale in a series of five maps that were published in 1988 in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. More detailed hydrogeologic maps are available for selected aquifers at the 1:24,000 scale. Since 1980, 33 of these aquifer maps have been published in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Health and various local agencies. The aquifer maps generally include a series of 1:24,000 maps showing aquifer boundaries, surficial geology, location of wells and test holes, and the water-table or potentiometric surface.

1:24,000 scale maps
1:250,000 scale maps
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