Siting a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in Texas Volume Four- Geologic and Hydrologic Investigations of State of Texas and University of Texas Lands

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The Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin, conducted preliminary investigations of the geology and hydrology of 5 areas in Culberson and Hudspeth Counties, Texas, selected by the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority as potential sites for a low-level radioactive waste repository. This report discusses the results of those studies.

Two areas in Culberson County, Texas, Site S-15 and Block 46 and adjacent regions, were investigated. The Permian Castile Formation underlies all of Site S-15 and the eastern half of Block 46. The Castile Formation displays evidence of extensive solution and local collapse and appears to contain a complex system of karst features and underground solution channels. The western half of Block 46 is underlain by the Permian Bell Canyon Formation, consisting of interbeds of sandstone and limestone. Both the Castile and subjacent Bell Canyon Formations contain prominent joint systems and local areas of normal faults. Surficial deposits are commonly composed of detritus derived from local formations and appear to be both porous and permeable.

The groundwater flow in both areas is governed by karst dissolution and collapse features. The chemical and isotopic composition of groundwater indicates active recharge through the thin unsaturated zone combined with older water flowing from the west. Residence time of groundwater in the aquifers is relatively short, and numerous springs discharge from the shallow groundwater table.


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