Performance evaluation testing of wells in the gradient control system at a federally operated Confined Disposal Facility using single well aquifer tests, East Chicago, Indiana

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5125
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
By:  and 

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) performed tests to evaluate the hydrologic connection between the open interval of the well and the surrounding Calumet aquifer in response to fouling of extraction well pumps onsite. Two rounds of air slug testing were performed on seven monitoring wells and step drawdown and subsequent recovery tests on three extraction wells on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) in East Chicago, Indiana. The wells were tested in 2014 and again in 2015. The extraction and monitoring wells are part of the gradient control system that establishes an inward gradient around the perimeter of the facility. The testing established a set of protocols that site personnel can use to evaluate onsite well integrity and develop a maintenance procedure to evaluate future well performance.

The results of the slug test analysis data indicate that the hydraulic connection of the well screen to the surrounding aquifer material in monitoring wells on the CDF and the reliability of hydraulic conductivity estimates of the surrounding geologic media could be increased by implementing well development maintenance. Repeated air slug tests showed increasing hydraulic conductivity until, in the case of the monitoring wells located outside of the groundwater cutoff wall (MW–4B, MW–11B, MW–14B), the difference in hydraulic conductivity from test to test decreased, indicating the results were approaching the optimal hydraulic connection between the aquifer and the well screen. Hydraulic conductivity values derived from successive tests in monitoring well D40, approximately 0.25 mile south of the CDF, were substantially higher than those derived from wells on the CDF property. Also, values did not vary from test to test like those measured in monitoring wells located on the CDF property, which indicated that a process may be affecting the connectivity of the wells on the CDF property to the Calumet aquifer. Derived hydraulic conductivity values from the initial air slug test during the 2015 testing period for MW–11A and MW–14A are an order of magnitude less than those derived from the final test during the 2014 testing period indicating the development of a low conductivity skin between the final test of the 2014 testing period and the beginning of the 2015 testing period that created a decrease in the connection of the monitoring well screen to the surrounding aquifer material.

Repeated step drawdown and recovery testing of the extraction wells tested during this study provided results that indicate a slight increase in the development of a skin and a decrease in the connectivity of the extraction wells with the Calumet aquifer. Hydraulic conductivity values obtained from the test results were relatively similar in EW–4B and EW–14A but were substantially lower for EW–11C. This difference may be due to the presence of finer grained silt deposits in the area surrounding well nest 11. Skin factors calculated during the step drawdown and recovery analysis were lowest in EW–11C and relatively similar in EW–4B and EW–14A. Calculated skin factors increased slightly in the analysis of data collected in 2015 from that collected in 2014.

Comparisons of the specific-capacity values calculated from well development data collected following extraction well installation to those calculated during the single well aquifer tests at EW–4B, EW–14A and EW–11C indicate that the productivity of extraction wells on the CDF property has diminished since 2008. Values calculated for monitoring wells MW–4A, MW–11A, and MW–14A were used to evaluate the decrease in air slug derived hydraulic conductivity for monitoring wells within the groundwater cutoff wall between testing in 2014 and 2015.

Results from testing by this study indicate that implementation of an air slug testing regimen of the monitoring wells that control the gradient control system at the CDF throughout the course of a year may help sustain the connectivity between the monitoring wells and the surrounding aquifer and provide data to evaluate the need for different types of well development approaches to address chemical or biological fouling issues. Repeated step drawdown and recovery testing of the extraction wells tested during this study provided results that indicate a slight increase in the development of a skin and a decrease in the connectivity of the extraction wells with the Calumet aquifer. Implementation of a specific capacity testing regimen can provide data to record and track well condition through time for individual extraction wells. Results from aquifer testing by this study indicate that specific capacity test results, when paired with recovery testing, provide useful data to measure the development of any low conductivity wellbore skin through the skin factors derived for the individual extraction wells. An initial annual schedule of specific capacity and recovery tests would provide sufficient data to identify substantial short-term changes in the operating condition of the extraction wells.

Suggested Citation

Lampe, D.C., and Unthank, M.D., 2016, Performance evaluation testing of wells in the gradient control system at a federally operated Confined Disposal Facility using single well aquifer tests, East Chicago, Indiana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5125, 50 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165125.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeologic Setting
  • Methods of Investigation
  • Results of Performance Evaluation Testing of Wells in the Gradient Control System
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Air Slug Test Field Log Sheets and Graphs of Air Slug Test Data with Fitted Analytical-Solution Lines
  • Appendix 2. Aquifer Test Field Log Sheets and Graphs of Aquifer-Test Data with Fitted Analytical-Solution Lines
  • Appendix 3. Air Slug Testing Procedure for Evaluating Hydraulic Condition of Gradient Control System Monitoring Wells
  • Appendix 4. Specific Capacity and Recovery Testing Procedure for Evaluating Gradient Control System Extraction Wells

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Performance evaluation testing of wells in the gradient control system at a federally operated Confined Disposal Facility using single well aquifer tests, East Chicago, Indiana
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2016-5125
DOI 10.3133/sir20165125
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Indiana-Kentucky Water Science Center
Description Report: viii, 50 p.; Appendixes 1-2
Country United States
State Indiana
City East Chicago
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y