The identification of spatial variations in hydraulic conductivity (K) on a scale of relevance for transport investigations has proven to be a considerable challenge. Recently, a new field method for the estimation of interwell variations in K has been proposed. This method, hydraulic tomography, essentially consists of a series of short-term pumping tests performed in a tomographic-like arrangement. In order to fully realize the potential of this approach, information about lateral and vertical variations in pumping-induced head changes (drawdown) is required with detail that has previously been unobtainable in the field. Pumping tests performed in networks of multilevel sampling (MLS) wells can provide data of the needed density if drawdown can accurately and rapidly be measured in the small-diameter tubing used in such wells. Field and laboratory experiments show that accurate transient drawdown data can be obtained in the small-diameter MLS tubing either directly with miniature fiber-optic pressure sensors or indirectly using air-pressure transducers. As with data from many types of hydraulic tests, the quality of drawdown measurements from MLS tubing is quite dependent on the effectiveness of well development activities. Since MLS ports of the standard design are prone to clogging and are difficult to develop, alternate designs are necessary to ensure accurate drawdown measurements. Initial field experiments indicate that drawdown measurements obtained from pumping tests performed in MLS networks have considerable potential for providing valuable information about spatial variations in hydraulic conductivity.
Additional publication details
Pumping tests in networks of multilevel sampling wells: Motivation and methodology