USGS will present results of a unique project in the Genesee River valley, in relation to the former Retsof/AKZO-Nobel salt mine. All remedial operations have shut down at the flooded mine, but brine is slowly being forced up through two collapse chimneys between the mine and the buried bedrock surface in the Genesee River valley. This brine is slowly being assimilated into the basal glacial aquifer and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wants to know where this brine is moving and its fate into the future. All monitoring wells related to the mine collapse and closure, and short-lived brine remediation project were sealed several years ago.
The USGS is using Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) - a non-invasive surface geophysical approach to determine where the high conductivity brine is moving. Data collected in the fall of 2016 indicated that the higher conductivity water can be seen to depths of 1,000 ft, and results of 39 TEM soundings across and along a section of the Genesee valley show that the brine is flowing to the thalweg of the valley and apparently slowly dispersing in the basal aquifer as the brine mixes with natural (fresher) groundwater.