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Survey Programs

Ambient-Ground-Water-Quality Network - The Survey selects specific wells annually for ground-water-quality monitoring. After the wells are sampled by the Water Monitoring Element, the data is entered into GIS and a report is generated for the targeted aquifer(s). This gives the DEP baseline water quality information.

Aquifer Mapping - The Survey has participated in studying 13 continuous coreholes drilled in the New Jersey Coastal Plain to better understand the distribution of aquifers and confining units in this physiographic province. In addition, the Survey is compiling a digital geophysical log database for identifying and mapping aquifers at various locations. These coreholes serve as primary reference points for correlations of aquifers with these geophysical logs. For FY 2011-2012, we are scheduled to drill a corehole near Swedesboro, NJ to improve our correlation of the Potomac aquifer between Fort Mott to the south and Medford to the north.

Aquifer Recharge - The Survey has published a methodology to map aquifer recharge areas and has mapped ground-water and aquifer-recharge areas on a watershed basis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Beach Nourishment - All sand is not suitable for beach nourishment. The Survey has been examining offshore and on-shore deposits for future projects and tracking erosion and deposition of beaches using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A bathymetric base map, created from the NOAA data base, was developed to plot the locations of the seismic lines, vibracore samples and potential sites for wind farms.

Boundary Monuments and Tidal Benchmarks - The Survey maintains the state's boundary with Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, as required of the DEP by NJSA 52:29-2. There are approximately 1200 tidal benchmarks along the coast to measure effects of sea level and shore changes and settle riparian rights disputes.

Brownfields Historic Fill - The "Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act" (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1 et seq.) requires the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection to map regions of the state where large areas of historic fill exist and make this information available to the public. These maps prepared by the Survey show areas of historic fill covering more than approximately 5 acres. For the purposes of these maps, historic fill is non-indigenous material placed on a site in order to raise the topographic elevation of the site. No representation is made as to the composition of the fill or presence of contamination in the fill. Some areas mapped as fill may contain chemical-production waste or ore-processing waste that exclude them from the legislative definition of historic fill.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration – is a new undertaking at the Survey.  In 2009, the Survey joined the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP) to investigate the broad class of technologies for capturing and permanently sequestering, or storing, carbon dioxide (CO2) to help stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.  At the Survey, we are specifically studying geologic sequestration that involves capturing and permanently storing CO2 in deep underground formations such as saline (saltwater) reservoirs.  With funding from the USDOE and the USGS, the Survey is actively undertaking a preliminary characterization of geological sequestration potential in the state of New Jersey and adjacent offshore region including the continental shelf and slope.  The objectives of the research are to 1) provide a preliminary characterization of potential reservoirs and confining units in the state and adjacent offshore region including the continental shelf and slope; and 2) identify geologic data and analysis needed to achieve a more detailed characterization in the future.

Data Preservation - As fulfillment of the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Programs (NGGDPP) FY 2007 USGS Grant, eighteen of the Survey's geological and geophysical data collections were inventoried. NGGDPP's FY 2009 grant required the Survey to create metadata for three of these collections so they can be entered into the National Digital Catalog (NDC). Metadata for Sediment Cores, Rock Cores and Samples collections have been created in XML format and uploaded into the Catalog. The on-line inventory has been updated to include the Sediment Core, Rock Cuttings (well cuttings) and the Hand Sample collections of the Survey. For FY 2010-11 paper geophysical well logs and geologic maps were scanned and digitized and metadata created for uploading into the NDC. For FY 2012-13 the survey is creating metadata for antique well logs, field notes and permanent notes and paper geologic logs of mines in New Jersey. All metadata will be entered into the NDC.

Earthquakes - New Jersey has experienced many small earthquakes in the past. The N.J. State Police, Office of Emergency Management, has been working with the Survey to enter earthquake data, soil liquefaction and landslide susceptibility on GIS and identify high hazard areas under a Federal (FEMA) grant. Assistance also is provided to DOT to identify highway bridges that may pose a hazard if damaged by an earthquake.

Executive Branch - As the state geological survey, the Survey is expected to provide assistance to other departments. Presently, assistance is provided to DOT and the Attorney General on non-DEP related matters. Although DEP receives the Survey appropriation, legislative intent was for the Survey to serve the entire Executive Branch.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - In 1992 the New Jersey Legislature appropriated funds for the "Completion of Water Resources Geographic Information Systems" (PL 1991, Chapter 346). Since that date the Survey has been generating and compiling geoscience data needed for water resources evaluation and placing this data in a GIS. Our databases consist of GIS coverages that are built and maintained using state-of-the-art GIS software and other relational database files. Completed data are organized into a comprehensive system called Digital Geodata Series that includes subdirectories for base maps, geology, geophysics, and water. Please refer to Digital Geodata Series for more information on database content and the means for obtaining custom products.

Geologic Mapping - The Survey is mapping surficial and bedrock geology throughout the state with a long-term goal of complete coverage at 1:24,000 scale. Mapping is partially funded by a federal grant program known as Statemap, a component of the National Geologic Mapping Act. Geologic maps provide basic data to address natural resource or environmental issues. Government regulators and the public use these maps and reports for making environmental decisions and conducting scientific research. Published maps are available for purchase through Maps and Publications or as free downloads in Adobe PDF™ format . Some geologic data are available digitally in GIS format as Digital Geodata Series.

Geologic and Environmental Hazards - Local government and the private sector depends on the Survey to assist with subsidence, sinkholes (karst) and unique groundwater problems. The Survey geochemists provide assessments of soil, ground water and bedrock chemistry. Current projects include evaluation of Arsenic contamination in ground waters of the Northern New Jersey. Studies show the elevated Arsenic is naturally occurring. The Survey also is working with Office of Safety Compliance, Mine Safety Unit, as well as the NJ State Police, Office of Emergency Management on a FEMA grant to assess the collapse of abandoned iron mines in the northern New Jersey.

Geothermal Data - Under the auspices of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG) and coordinated by the Arizona State Geological Survey, the Survey, along with the other state surveys, is taking a leading role in exploring America's geothermal potential for the 21st century. AASG and its partners are determined to expand the application of environmentally sound, renewable geothermal energy. For its part, the Survey received over $200,000 from the US Department of Energy (DOE), under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to investigate geothermal resources in this state as a relevant resource for heating and cooling applications. The project will be conducted over a three-year period and will provide information to aid industry in the identification, development and implementation of geothermal heating and cooling projects.

Ground-Water-Pollution Investigations - The Survey is capable of performing an entire ground-water pollution investigation. Our subsurface investigations program includes drilling and borehole-logging capabilities. Geophysicists use state-of-the-art geophysical techniques and equipment and work with hydrogeologists to evaluate the subsurface aquifers with non-invasive techniques. The Survey assists counties and municipalities in finding causes of contamination and providing remedial solutions.

Landslide Hazard - The Survey maintains a database of Landslides in the state and updates the database as new landslides occur. This information is used by The NJ State Police, Office of Emergency Management as well as federal, state, county, local government officials and consultants to assist them in hazard mitigation planning. Landslides in New Jersey can damage homes, utilities, cover roads, highways and railroad tracks. They are responsible for millions of dollars in damages each year.

Local Government and Public Assistance - The Survey provides geotechnical expertise to the public sector on a variety of issues, including water supply, geologic hazards, environmental resource planning, and earth science education. Every DEP permit involving ground water or landuse (NJPDES, ISRA, water diversion, solid waste, etc.) requires geologic and hydrologic data from the Survey databases, maps or publications. This is a function that has been performed for the public for over 100 years. The Survey also is considered an objective neutral party for dispute resolution.

Mineral-Resources Assessments - New Jersey has a  long history of mining and a $250,000,000 mineral industry. Current mining activities include the quarring of stone and the mining of sand and gravel. Analyses are performed to find new mineral resources e.g. the location and abundance of offshore sand and gravel for beach-replenishment projects in conjunction with the U.S. Mineral Management Services.

Site-Remediation Assistance - The Survey analyzes and performs hydrogeologic work at pollution sites when needed, and reviews consultant reports with regard to both geology and hydrogeology. The Survey has encouraged the use of geophysics to characterize sites to minimize the need for expensive borings and wells. Pre-remedial investigations by the Survey help reduce site-remediation costs and allow the DEP to streamline the remediation-contract process. The Survey also provides quality assurance for compliance documents that include hydrogeologic and geophysical methods.

Subsurface Mapping - The Survey geophysicists assist the Survey mapping geologists by providing remotely-sensed subsurface information. This greatly increases the value of geologic maps by providing 3-dimensional information (cross sections). This is especially important where buried valley aquifers only occupy a narrow part of a river valley, but supply ground water to an entire region (for example, Passaic Valley). The Survey provides support to the U.S. Geological Survey to help establish the subsurface geologic framework.

Watershed Characterization & Assessment - A vital aspect of the NJDEP watershed characterization and management initiative is assessing the status of the state's ground-water resources. This requires knowing the geologic and hydrologic properties of a watershed. The Survey contributes essential information for the characterization process including the location, extent, and productivity of aquifers, the distribution and rates of ground-water recharge, data on ground-water quality, and the amount of ground-water discharge to surface streams (base flow).

Water Supply - The Survey analyzes and reviews hydrogeologic reports submitted in support of water supply diversion applications for the Water Allocations. The Survey also provides input to Well Permitting on the drilling, abandonment and sealing of wells penetrating multiple aquifers. The Survey maintains and updates geologic and hydrologic databases used by Water Supply and DEP permit applicants. In addition, the Survey conducts regional water resource assessments and regional ground water models required by the 1981 Water Bond Act. The Survey also provides geologic & hydrologic information to the regulated community for locating high capacity industrial and municipal wells. The Survey is responsible for the NJDEP/USGS ground-water-monitoring network and drought networks.

Well Head Protection Area (WHPA) Delineation - As part of the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP), the Survey calculates the well head protection area. All public community supply well locations (roughly 2,416 wells) are available for download. The Survey is compiling locations of public non-community wells (roughly 7,000 wells). Well head protection areas are calculated in accordance with the Guidelines for Delineation of Well Head Protection Areas New Jersey (Adobe PDF file). The well head protection areas provide a critical component of the source water assessment and protection activities as well as the basis for focusing efforts of the state's ground-water protection strategy.

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Copyright State of New Jersey, 1996-
Department of Environmental Protection
Geological and Water Survey
P. O. Box 420
Mail Code:29-01
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420

Phone: (609) 292-1185
FAX: (609) 633-1004