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South Atlantic Water Science Center

Georgia Geologic Survey Information Circular 88


Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, Georgia Geologic Survey

John S. Clarke and Michael F. Peck

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Ground-water resources of the nine county south metropolitan Atlanta region were evaluated in response to an increased demand for water supplies and concern that existing surface water supplies may not be able to meet future supply demands. Previous investigations have suggested that crystalline rock in the study area has low permeability and can not sustain well yields suitable for public supply. However, the reported yield for 406 wells drilled into crystalIine rock units in this area ranged from less than 1 to about 700 gallons per minute, and averaged 43 gallons per minute. The reported flow from 13 springs ranged from 0.5 to 679 gallons per minute. The yield of 43 wells and flow from five springs was reported to exceed 100 gallons per minute. Most of the high-yielding wells and springs were near contact zones between rocks of contrasting lithologic and weathering properties. The high-yielding wells and springs are located in a variety of topographic settings: hillsides, upland draws, and hilltops were most prevalent.

The study area, which includes Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Spalding, Lamar, Pike, Meriwether, Upson and Talbot Counties, is within the Piedmont physiographic province except for the southernmost part of Talbot County, which is in the Coastal Plain physiographic province. In the Piedmont, ground-water storage occurs in joints, fractures and other secondary openings in the bedrock, and in pore spaces in the regolith. The most favorable geologic settings for siting highyielding wells are along contact zones between rocks of contrasting lithology and permeability, major zones of fracturing such as the Towaliga and Auchumpkee fault zones, and other numerous shear and microbreccia zones.

Although most wells in the study area are from 101 to 300 feet deep, the highest average yields were obtained from wells 51 to 100 feet deep, and 301 to 500 feet deep. Of the wells inventoried, the average diameter of well casing was largest for wells located on hills and ridges, possibly indicating a preference for such topographic locations by cities and industrial users who typically develop larger diameter wells than do domestic users. Generally, for a given depth range or well diameter, the highest yielding wells were obtained in draws and valleys, followed by hills and ridges and slopes and flats.

In 1985, wells and springs supplied about 16 million gallons per day or 37 percent of the total water withdrawn in the area. Average recharge to the aquifers in the upper Flint River basin, which constitutes 66 percent of the area, was estimated to be about 575 million gallons per day. Groundwater recharge in this basin ranged from 414 million gallons per day during an average dry year, to 77 million gallons per day during an average wet year. During the severe drought of 1954, the estimated recharge was 70 million gallons per day.

Ground water in the study area generally is suitable for most uses. With the exception of local occurences of excessive iron, fluoride, and manganese, concentrations of total and/or dissolved constituents generally meets State and Federal drinking water standards. Ground-water quality may be affected by the presence of radionuclides associated with the decay of uranium found in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Plates/Tables (PDF files):

For additional information contact:
Director, South Atlantic Water Science Center - Georgia

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Purpose and scope


Previous studies

Well and spring numbering system


Description of the study area

Geologic setting

Hydrologic setting

Water use

Ground-water resources

Hydrogeologic units

Ground-water levels

Ground-water availability

Well yields and factors affecting yields


Occurrence of high-yielding wells and springs

Well-performance tests

Water quality

Summary and conclusions

Selected references

Appendix A--Record of wells