The slug test is the most widely used technique for the in situ estimation of hydraulic conductivity in confined and unconfined formations. Currently, there are no generally accepted methods in the groundwater literature for the analysis of response data from slug tests performed in wells screened across the watertable. A field study was undertaken in an attempt to develop a set of practical guidelines for tests conducted in such wells. Three wells, screened within unconsolidated material exhibiting a range of hydraulic conductivities (.05-30.0 m/day), were installed to depths of up to 9 m (30 ft) in Kansas River alluvium that ranges in thickness from 15 m to 21 m (50 ft to 70 ft) near Lawrence, Kansas. Intensive well-development efforts removed any drilling debris that could interfere with well-formation hydraulics. Once the wells were developed properly, a series of slug tests was performed at each well. The tests were designed to assess the role of the unsaturated zone and the appropriateness of assuming a fixed hydraulic head upper boundary. The results of this investigation can be summarized as follows: (1) the sufficiency of well development should be based on repeat slug tests and not the clarity of pumped water; (2) the effective screen radius for best model analysis should be based on a mass balance and not nominal screen dimensions; (3) the watertable can be represented as a constant head boundary and flow in the unsaturated zone can be ignored in most situations; (4) conventional techniques for the analysis of slug-test data seem to be reasonable for slug tests conducted in wells screened across the watertable, when used with the appropriate effective screen radius and normalized head range; and (5) fluctuations in the watertable elevation through time can be exploited to obtain some insight into the nature of vertical variation in hydraulic conductivity at a well. The results of this investigation indicate that multiple slug tests should be performed at wells screened across the watertable in order to reliably assess the sufficiency of well development and the appropriateness of conventional theory. ?? 2000 International Association for Mathematical Geology.
Additional publication details
Analyzing slug tests in wells screened across the watertable: A field assessment