Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aquifer Becomes Less Salty; but Water Levels Remained near All-Time Lows despite Less Pumping

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aquifer Becomes Less Salty; but Water Levels Remained near All-Time Lows despite Less Pumping

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

BRUNSWICK - The aquifer supplying Brunswick's drinking water was less salty last year as the amount of water pumped out by local industries continued to decline, federal geologists said in a new report.

Although there is less pressure on the whole groundwater system because industrial consumption has dropped, water levels in the surface aquifers being monitored remained at or near all-time lows last year, according to U.S. Geological Survey figures released Tuesday.

"It's a good news, bad news situation," said Tony Sammons, chairman of the Joint Water and Sewer Commission, which operates water and wastewater systems for Brunswick and Glynn County.

"It's good news that the salinity is down. But the decline in industrial consumption could be bad news. Everyone is trying to be more efficient with water usage, but the other possibility is this results from a decline in manufacturing because of the economy."

Brunswick and much of Coastal Georgia rely largely on the Floridan aquifer, which stretches from Effingham County west to Dodge County then southwest to Seminole County where it crosses the border into Alabama.

The geological survey in cooperation with the city has monitored and analyzed saltwater contamination of the Floridan aquifer system and related superficial aquifers since 1959. Those efforts include the effect of groundwater on saltwater intrusion.

Sammons and other commission officials hadn't had an opportunity Wednesday to review the highly technical 41-page report based on analysis of water samples collected from a series of monitoring wells through the Brunswick area.

However, the report and its implications will top the agenda at the panel's next meeting, which hasn't been scheduled yet, Sammons said.

"I think this report is significant in the fact that the salinity is not increasing," Sammons said. …

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