Two experiments in water spreading were made at Newark, Del., to evaluate the prospects of using excess storm runoff to recharge the shallow water-table aquifer which serves the community. Water was diverted from 1 of the city's 3 production wells and released into an infiltration ditch near the municipal well field.
Although slightly more than 65,000 cubic feet of water (nearly 500,000 gallons ) was spread in the infiltration ditch and allowed to seep into the subsurface, there was no indication that any appreciable amount of water reached the producing aquifer. Instead, a perched zone of saturation was created by the presence of an impermeable or slightly permeable bed above the water table. So effective is this barrier to the downward movement of water that within a period of less than 1 day, the apex of the perched zone rose about 10 feet to the level of the bottom of the infiltration ditch. As more water was added, the mound of saturation spread laterally.
On the basis of these experiments, it appears that the principal aquifer at Newark, Del., would not be benefited by spreading water in shallow infiltration ditches or basins. However, the absorptive capacity of the unsaturated materials which occur at a shallow depth, is sufficient to permit the disposal of large volumes of storm runoff.
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USGS Numbered Series
Experiments in water spreading at Newark, Delaware