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projects > chronology and isotope geochemistry of ground waters in the florida keys and offshore areas

Chronology and Isotope Geochemistry of Ground Waters in the Florida Keys and Offshore Areas

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Project Investigator: J. K. Bohlke

Project Start Date: 1996 End Date: 1999


Summary

This project is designed to provide new data on the sources, flow directions, exchange rates, and chemical characteristics of ground waters underlying the region of Florida Bay, the Keys, and offshore reefs.

One of the issues of concern in South Florida is the potential effect of anthropogenic pollutants from the Florida Keys on the water quality and health of the reef offshore. Recently, it has been suggested that certain constituents (e.g., bacteria, ammonium) found in some of the offshore ground waters might be derived from sewage or landfill effluents from the Keys, and that those or other constituents might be contributing to the declining health of the reef. But results so far are not definitive, and it is important to determine how the subsurface flow systems operate around the Keys, where the reef ground waters (GW) come from, and what is the fate of the contaminants emplaced in ground waters in the Keys.

This project involves sampling surface waters and ground waters from Florida Bay, the Keys, and offshore to the barrier reef. Analyses will be done on a variety of isotopic and chemical species that have been used elsewhere to determine ground-water ages, contaminant sources, and geo- chemical reactions. WRD researchers will coordinate ground water sampling and analytical work; GD researchers will provide access to wells and back-ground data, handle field logistics, etc.

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