The Great Miami River Buried Valley Aquifer System is one of the most productive sources of potable water in the Midwest, yielding as much as 3,000 gallons per minute to wells. Many water-supply wells tapping this aquifer system are purposely placed near rivers to take advantage of induced infiltration from the rivers.
The City of Hamilton's North Well Field consists of 10 wells near the Great Miami River, all completed in the lower Great Miami River Buried Valley Aquifer System. A well-drilling program and a multiple-well aquifer test were done to investigate ground-water flow directions and to estimate aquifer hydraulic properties in the lower part of the Great Miami River Buried Valley Aquifer System. Descriptions of lithology from 10 well borings indicate varying amounts and thickness of clay or till, and therefore, varying levels of potential aquifer confinement. Borings also indicate that the aquifer properties can change dramatically over relatively short distances. Grain-size analyses indicate an average bulk hydraulic conductivity value of aquifer materials of 240 feet per day; the geometric mean of hydraulic conductivity values of aquifer material was 89 feet per day. Median grain sizes of aquifer material and clay units were 1.3 millimeters and 0.1 millimeters, respectively.
Water levels in the Hamilton North Well Field are affected by stream stage in the Great Miami River and barometric pressure. Bank storage in response to stream stage is evident. Results from a multiple-well aquifer test at the well field indicate, as do the lithologic descriptions, that the aquifer is semiconfined in some areas and unconfined in others. Transmissivity and storage coefficient of the semiconfined part of the aquifer were 50,000 feet squared per day and 5x10-4, respectively. The average hydraulic conductivity (450 feet per day) based on the aquifer test is reasonable for glacial outwash but is higher than calculated from grain-size analyses, implying a scale effect. Although the part of the lower Great Miami River Buried Valley Aquifer System where the Hamilton North Well Field is located is semiconfined, unconfined, or locally confined and not directly connected to the Great Miami River, the discontinuity of the clay/till layers beneath the river indicates that other, deeper parts of the aquifer system may be directly connected to the Great Miami River.