Population growth in the groundwater-dependent municipalities of southwestern Ontario has prompted interest in the exploration for new, previously untapped, groundwater resources. In this study, the groundwater resource potential of the sediments infilling a deeply buried bedrock valley network centred beneath the Region of Waterloo and the counties of Brant and Hamilton–Wentworth are explored. The objectives of this study are to further refine valley location and geometry, understand infilling sediments and their hydrogeological properties, and characterize waters contained within the aquifers to inform future water management decisions. Results of a regional ground gravity survey were instrumental in locating buried bedrock valleys and guided follow-up drilling. Continuous sediment coring and monitoring well installations were completed to target thick and coarse-grained sediment packages that, based on existing borehole data, showed aquifer potential. Hydraulic testing and groundwater sampling results provided valuable insights into groundwater quantity and quality. Highly transmissive aquifers, some worth investigating further, have been identified within portions of the valley network. The aquifers appear to occur at a number of stratigraphic positions and do not necessarily occur as the deepest unit overlying bedrock. Bedrock topography likely played a role, however, in their preferential preservation. They are commonly overlain by thick sequences of relatively impermeable sediments, providing excellent protection from anthropogenic contamination. Information from water chemistry, however, does suggest hydraulic connection to the surface at some locations. Groundwater quality and quantity information combined with a conceptual three-dimensional geologic model aids in the selection of groundwater resource exploration targets within the untapped resources of the deep, Dundas buried valley sediments.
Evaluating the groundwater resource potential of the Dundas buried bedrock valley, southwestern Ontario: an integrated geological and hydrogeological case study1
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Andy F. Bajc, Andrea S. Marich, Elizabeth H. Priebe, Desmond R.B. Rainsford; Evaluating the groundwater resource potential of the Dundas buried bedrock valley, southwestern Ontario: an integrated geological and hydrogeological case study. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 55 (7): 659–676. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2016-0224
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