Local surface water and stormflow were infiltrated intermittently from a 40-ha basin between September 2003 and September 2007 to determine the feasibility of recharging alluvial aquifers pumped for public supply, near Stockton, California. Infiltration of water produced a pressure response that propagated through unconsolidated alluvial-fan deposits to 125 m below land surface (bls) in 5 d and through deeper, more consolidated alluvial deposits to 194 m bls in 25 d, resulting in increased water levels in nearby monitoring wells. The top of the saturated zone near the basin fluctuates seasonally from depths of about 15 to 20 m. Since the start of recharge, water infiltrated from the basin has reached depths as great as 165 m bls. On the basis of sulfur hexafluoride tracer test data, basin water moved downward through the saturated alluvial deposits until reaching more permeable zones about 110 m bls. Once reaching these permeable zones, water moved rapidly to nearby pumping wells at rates as high as 13 m/d. Flow to wells through highly permeable material was confirmed on the basis of flowmeter logging, and simulated numerically using a two-dimensional radial groundwater flow model. Arsenic concentrations increased slightly as a result of recharge from 2 to 6 μg/L immediately below the basin. Although few water-quality issues were identified during sample collection, high groundwater velocities and short travel times to nearby wells may have implications for groundwater management at this and at other sites in heterogeneous alluvial aquifers.
Additional publication details
Movement of water infiltrated from a recharge basin to wells