Hydrogeology and Groundwater Flow in Alluvial Deposits, North Summerset, South Dakota

Scientific Investigations Report 2020-5097
By:  and 



The city of Summerset is a growing community in west South Dakota. The Sun Valley Estates subdivision in the north part of the city was developed on unconsolidated deposits surrounded by steep terrain. During years with greater than normal precipitation, particularly in 2019, groundwater levels increased in the unconsolidated deposits and caused damage to stormwater systems, sewer infrastructure, and houses with basements. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the City of Summerset, completed a study of the hydrogeology and groundwater flow in the alluvial aquifer part of the unconsolidated deposits in north Summerset to understand the groundwater system in the area and to provide hydrogeologic information in support of future development planning.

The study area included most of the Sun Valley Estates subdivision in the north part of the city of Summerset in the east Black Hills of west South Dakota. About 0.7 square mile of water-bearing alluvial deposits is included in the study area. Precipitation in the study area from 2017 to 2019 was compared to the monthly normal values at a nearby climate site. The largest departure from normal was in May 2019 with precipitation exceeding the monthly normal by about 5 inches (in.). All months in 2019, except March, exceeded the monthly normal precipitation. Cumulative departure from normal precipitation in 2019 increased from about 4 in. greater than normal in January to about 18 in. greater than normal in December.

The geologic setting of the study area is characterized by the surrounding Black Hills. Unconsolidated Quaternary-age deposits overlie consolidated to partially consolidated Mesozoic-age and Paleozoic-age shales, sandstones, and limestones. Surficial deposits of alluvium and other unconsolidated deposits are the primary surficial geologic units in the study area and form the components of the alluvium hydrogeologic unit of the study area. Results from previous studies of alluvium along nearby Rapid Creek estimated hydraulic conductivity to range from 89 to 2,292 feet per day (ft/d), transmissivity to range from 1,001 to 32,083 feet squared per day, and storage coefficients to range from 0.0002 to 0.16. Hydraulic conductivity and transmissivity generally decreased downstream along Rapid Creek (west to east). Slug tests were completed August 16, 2019, at two observation wells completed in the alluvial aquifer in the Sun Valley Estates subdivision to determine hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity estimated from AQTESOLV curve-fitting analysis using the Bouwer-Rice method for all slug-in and slug-out trials from two observation wells in the study ranged from 0.20 to 0.26 ft/d for well 441318103220001 (SunValley1 well) and from 0.54 to 14 ft/d for well 441319103215701 (SunValley2 well). The mean, median, and standard deviation of all trials at both wells were 4.3 ft/d, 0.8 ft/d, and 5.6 ft/d, respectively.

The extent of the alluvial aquifer was determined by geologic maps and lithologic logs. Alluvial deposits in the study area extend to about 1 mile in the north–south direction and about 1.5 miles in the southeast–northwest direction. The direction of groundwater flow was estimated using water-level records and topographic maps. The resulting potentiometric map indicated that groundwater in the alluvial aquifer under the Sun Valley Estates subdivision originates from higher elevations of the west part of the area of interest and from streams in the southeast part. Recharge and evapotranspiration estimates were results from a Soil-Water Balance model that calculated a matrix of recharge for 2019 with values ranging from 0 to 11.4 in. and an annual mean value of 5.1 in. across the study area. Soil-Water Balance-estimated potential evapotranspiration for 2019 ranged from 28.90 to 28.75 in. and the estimated annual mean was 28.86 in. across the study area. Estimated groundwater budget components for the alluvial aquifer in the area of interest included inflows and outflows. Total estimated groundwater budget components for inflows for 2019 were about 66 percent from recharge, 33 percent from streamflow, and 1 percent from inflow from adjacent aquifers. Total estimated outflows were about 99-percent evapotranspiration and less than 1-percent outflow to adjacent aquifers.

Suggested Citation

Eldridge, W.G., and Anderson, T.M., 2020, Hydrogeology and groundwater flow in alluvial deposits, north Summerset, South Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2020–5097, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20205097.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Hydrogeology
  • Groundwater Flow
  • Data and Interpretive Limitations
  • Summary
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Hydrogeology and groundwater flow in alluvial deposits, north Summerset, South Dakota
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2020-5097
DOI 10.3133/sir20205097
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Dakota Water Science Center
Description Report: vii, 31 p.; 2 Data Releases
Country United States
State South Dakota
City Sommerset
Online Only (Y/N) Y
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