Trench infiltration for managed aquifer recharge to permeable bedrock

Hydrological Processes
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Abstract

Managed aquifer recharge to permeable bedrock is increasingly being utilized to enhance resources and maintain sustainable groundwater development practices. One such target is the Navajo Sandstone, an extensive regional aquifer located throughout the Colorado Plateau of the western United States. Spreading-basin and bank-filtration projects along the sandstone outcrop's western edge in southwestern Utah have recently been implemented to meet growth-related water demands. This paper reports on a new cost-effective surface-infiltration technique utilizing trenches for enhancing managed aquifer recharge to permeable bedrock. A 48-day infiltration trench experiment on outcropping Navajo Sandstone was conducted to evaluate this alternative surface-spreading artificial recharge method. Final infiltration rates through the bottom of the trench were about 0.5 m/day. These infiltration rates were an order of magnitude higher than rates from a previous surface-spreading experiment at the same site. The higher rates were likely caused by a combination of factors including the removal of lower permeability soil and surficial caliche deposits, access to open vertical sandstone fractures, a reduction in physical clogging associated with silt and biofilm layers, minimizing viscosity effects by maintaining isothermal conditions, minimizing chemical clogging caused by carbonate mineral precipitation associated with algal photosynthesis, and diminished gas clogging associated with trapped air and biogenic gases. This pilot study illustrates the viability of trench infiltration for enhancing surface spreading of managed aquifer recharge to permeable bedrock. ?? 2010.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Trench infiltration for managed aquifer recharge to permeable bedrock
Series title Hydrological Processes
DOI 10.1002/hyp.7833
Volume 25
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Hydrological Processes
First page 141
Last page 151