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US Department of the Interior
US Geological Survey
WRI 02-4036

Inventory and Review of Aquifer Storage and Recovery in Southern Florida

Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4036

By Ronald S. Reese

Tallahassee, Florida
prepared as part of the U.S. Geological Survey Place-Based Studies Program


Inventory of Data
Case Studies
PDF Version

Aquifer storage and recovery in southern Florida has been proposed on an unprecedented scale as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Aquifer storage and recovery wells were constructed or are under construction at 27 sites in southern Florida, mostly by local municipalities or counties located in coastal areas. The Upper Floridan aquifer, the principal storage zone of interest to the restoration plan, is the aquifer being used at 22 of the sites. The aquifer is brackish to saline in southern Florida, which can greatly affect the recovery of the freshwater recharged and stored.

Well data were inventoried and compiled for all wells at most of the 27 sites. Construction and testing data were compiled into four main categories: (1) well identification, location, and construction data; (2) hydraulic test data; (3) ambient formation water-quality data; and (4) cycle testing data. Each cycle during testing or operation includes periods of recharge of freshwater, storage, and recovery that each last days or months. Cycle testing data include calculations of recovery efficiency, which is the percentage of the total amount of potable water recharged for each cycle that is recovered.

Calculated cycle test data include potable water recovery efficiencies for 16 of the 27 sites. However, the number of cycles at most sites was limited; except for two sites, the highest number of cycles was five. Only nine sites had a recovery efficiency above 10 percent for the first cycle, and 10 sites achieved a recovery efficiency above 30 percent during at least one cycle. The highest recovery efficiency achieved per cycle was 84 percent for cycle 16 at the Boynton Beach site.

Factors that could affect recovery of freshwater varied widely between sites. The thickness of the open storage zone at all sites ranged from 45 to 452 feet. For sites with the storage zone in the Upper Floridan aquifer, transmissivity based on tests of the storage zones ranged from 800 to 108,000 feet squared per day, leakance values indicated that confinement is not good in some areas, and the chloride concentration of ambient water ranged from 500 to 11,000 milligrams per liter.

Based on review of four case studies and data from other sites, several hydrogeologic and design factors appear to be important to the performance of aquifer storage and recovery in the Floridan aquifer system. Performance is maximized when the storage zone is thin and located at the top of the Upper Floridan aquifer, and transmissivity and salinity of the storage zone are moderate (less than 30,000 feet squared per day and 3,000 milligrams per liter of chloride concentration, respectively). The structural setting at a site could also be important because of the potential for updip migration of a recharged freshwater bubble due to density contrast or loss of overlying confinement due to deformation.

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Conversion Factors, Vertical Datum, Abbreviations and Acronyms
Multiply By To Obtain
inch (in.) 25.4 millimeter
foot (ft) 0.3048 meter
mile (mi) 1.609 kilometer
gallon per minute (gal/min) 3.785 liter per minute
gallon per minute per foot (gal/min/ft) 12.418 liter per minute per meter
million gallons (Mgal) 3,785 cubic meter
million gallons per day (Mgal/d) 3,785 cubic meter per day
square feet per day (ft2/d) 0.0929 square meter per day
square feet per day (ft2/d) 7.48 gallon per day per foot
inverse day (1/d) 7.48 gallon per day per cubic foot

Sea level: In this report, "sea level" refers to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD of 1929) - a geodetic datum derived from a general adjustment of the first-order level nets of both the United States and Canada, formerly called Sea Level Datum of 1929.

Acronyms and Additional Abbreviations used in Report
ASR aquifer storage and recovery
CERP Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
FDEP Florida Department of Environmental Protection
FKAA Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority
GPS global positioning system
GWSI Ground-Water Site Inventory (U.S. Geological Survey database)
µs/cm microsiemens per centimeter
mg/L milligrams per liter
MOR monthly operating report
SFWMD South Florida Water Management District
USGS U.S. Geological Survey
WTP Water Treatment Plant
WWTP Wastewater Treatment Plant

For additional information write to:

District Chief
U.S. Geological Survey
227 North Bronough Street
Suite 3015
Tallahassee, Florida 32301

Copies of this report can be purchased from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Branch of Information Services
Box 25286
Denver, CO 80225-0286


Additional information about water resources in Florida is available on the World Wide Web at

The use of trade, produce, or firm names in this publication is for identification purposed only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Related information:

SOFIA Project: A Retrospective and Critical Review of Aquifer Storage and Recovery Sites in South Florida

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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:04 PM (KP)