Preliminary Findings on the Inorganic Geochemical Evolution of Ground Water in the Vicinity of the Pantex Plant

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Since 1991, the Bureau of Economic Geology has sampled 29 wells in the vicinity of the Pantex Plant for hydrochemical analyses (Figure 1). Analyses were conducted of the following constituents (Tables 1 and 2): dissolved metals (cations), metalloids, anions, and inorganic carbon; ammonia; stable isotopes (deuterium [2H], boron-11, carbon-13, nitrogen-15, oxygen-18, and sulfur-34); radiogenic isotopes (tritium [3H] and carbon-14); and unstable parameters such as temperature, Eh (oxidation-reduction potential), pH, alkalinity (as bicarbonate), and dissolved oxygen. Nine of the wells sampled are located in one or more perched aquifers (referred to subsequently as the perched aquifer[s]) above the Ogallala aquifer water table: two private wells off-site (one to the north of the Pantex Plant, one to the west) and seven monitoring wells on-site. In the Ogallala aquifer itself, 19 wells were sampled: nine private wells upgradient from the Pantex Plant (two to the southwest, seven to the south) and ten wells on-site (six water-supply wells and four monitoring wells). In addition, we sampled a nearby private well identified by the Texas Water Development Board as being completed in the underlying (Permian-age) Quartermaster Formation. In the perched aquifer, three wells have been sampled three times and one has been sampled twice; in the Ogallala aquifer, four wells have been sampled three times and two have been sampled twice.


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