Modeling the potential impact of seasonal and inactive multi-aquifer wells on contaminant movement to public water-supply wells
Wells screened across multiple aquifers can provide pathways for the movement of surprisingly large volumes of groundwater to confined aquifers used for public water supply (PWS). Using a simple numerical model, we examine the impact of several pumping scenarios on leakage from an unconfined aquifer to a confined aquifer and conclude that a single inactive multi-aquifer well can contribute nearly 10% of total PWS well flow over a wide range of pumping rates. This leakage can occur even when the multi-aquifer well is more than a kilometer from the PWS well. The contribution from multi-aquifer wells may be greater under conditions where seasonal pumping (e.g., irrigation) creates large, widespread downward hydraulic gradients between aquifers. Under those conditions, water can continue to leak down a multi-aquifer well from an unconfined aquifer to a confined aquifer even when those multi-aquifer wells are actively pumped. An important implication is that, if an unconfined aquifer is contaminated, multi-aquifer wells can increase the vulnerability of a confined-aquifer PWS well.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Modeling the potential impact of seasonal and inactive multi-aquifer wells on contaminant movement to public water-supply wells|
|Series title||Journal of the American Water Resources Association|
|Contributing office(s)||Ohio Water Science Center, California Water Science Center|