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Cross-well slug testing in unconfined aquifers: A case study from the Sleepers River Watershed, Vermont

Ground Water

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Abstract

Normally, slug test measurements are limited to the well in which the water level is perturbed. Consequently, it is often difficult to obtain reliable estimates of hydraulic properties, particularly if the aquifer is anisotropic or if there is a wellbore skin. In this investigation, we use partially penetrating stress and observation wells to evaluate specific storage, radial hydraulic conductivity and anisotropy of the aquifer, and the hydraulic conductivity of the borehole skin. The study site is located in the W9 subbasin of the Sleepers River Research Watershed, Vermont. At the site, ~3 m of saturated till are partially penetrated by a stress well located in the center of the unconfined aquifer and six observation wells located above, below, and at the depth of the stress well at radial distances of 1.2 and 2.4 m. The observation wells were shut in with inflatable packers. The semianalytical solution of Butler (1995) was used to conduct a sensitivity analysis and to interpret slug test results. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the response of the stress well is primarily sensitive to radial hydraulic conductivity, less sensitive to anisotropy and the conductivity of the borehole skin, and nearly insensitive to specific storage. In contrast, the responses of the observation wells are sensitive to all four parameters. Interpretation of the field data was facilitated by generating type curves in a manner analogous to the method of Cooper et al. (1967). Because the value of radial hydraulic conductivity is obtained from a match point, the number of unknowns is reduced to three. The estimated values of radial hydraulic conductivity and specific storage are comparable to those derived from the methods of Bouwer and Rice (1976) and Cooper et al. (1967). The values and skin conductivity, however, could not have been obtained without the use of observation wells.Normally, slug test measurements are limited to the well in which the water level is perturbed. Consequently, it is often difficult to obtain reliable estimates of hydraulic properties, particularly if the aquifer is anisotropic or if there is a wellbore skin. In this investigation, we use partially penetrating stress and observation wells to evaluate specific storage, radial hydraulic conductivity and anisotropy of the aquifer, and the hydraulic conductivity of the borehole skin. The study site is located in the W9 subbasin of the Sleepers River Research Watershed, Vermont. At the site, approximately 3 m of saturated till are partially penetrated by a stress well located in the center of the unconfined aquifer and six observation wells located above, below, and at the depth of the stress well at radial distances of 1.2 and 2.4 m. The observation wells were shut in with inflatable packers. The semianalytical solution of Buffer (1995) was used to conduct a sensitivity analysis and to interpret slug test results. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the response of the stress well is primarily sensitive to radial hydraulic conductivity, less sensitive to anisotropy and the conductivity of the borehole skin, and nearly insensitive to specific storage. In contrast, the responses of the observation wells are sensitive to all four parameters. Interpretation of the field data was facilitated by generating type curves in a manner analogous to the method of Cooper et al. (1967). Because the value of radial hydraulic conductivity is obtained from a match point, the number of unknowns is reduced to three. The estimated values of radial hydraulic conductivity and specific storage are comparable to those derived from the methods of Bouwer and Rice (1976) and Cooper et al. (1967). The values and skin conductivity, however, could not have been obtained without the use of observation wells.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Cross-well slug testing in unconfined aquifers: A case study from the Sleepers River Watershed, Vermont
Series title:
Ground Water
Volume
37
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
Natl Ground Water Assoc
Publisher location:
United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ground Water
First page:
438
Last page:
447