An Effect of Pier Pilings on Nearshore Submarine Groundwater Discharge from a (Partially) Confined Aquifer

Document Type


Publication Date



Concurrent bulk ground conductivity mapping and direct measurements of seepage rates were carried out near a pier at Shelter Island, New York, U.S.A. A shallow sediment layer was identified to provide confinement for lower aquifer units. The conductivity and seepage rate data indicate that pilings of the pier apparently pierce this shallow sediment layer, producing a comparatively high seepage rate driven by the hydraulic head of the (partially) confined aquifer, resulting in a substantial increase in submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) near the pier. Seepage rate measurements made close to the pier, which runs perpendicular to the shoreline, cannot be considered representative for the area. At the study site, the magnitude of SGD depends both on the distance from shore and on the distance from the pier, a rmding that confounds the commonly observed patterns of decreasing SGD with increasing distance from shore. This alteration of a groundwater flow pattern is a previously undescribed effect of anthropogenic perturbation in a coastal system.


At the time of publication John Rapaglia was affiliated with Marine Science Research Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.