A statistical analysis of data from wells drilled into the crystalline rocks of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge provinces of North Carolina verified and refined previously proposed criteria for the siting of wells to obtain greater than average yields. An opportunity to test the criteria was provided by the expansion of the town of Cary's municipal ground-water system. Three criteria were used: type of rock, thickness of saturated regolith based upon topography, and presence of fractures and joints based upon drainage lineations. A conceptual model of the local hydrogeologic system was developed to guide the selection of the most favorable well sites, and on the basis of the model, six type sites were determined. Eleven of 12 test wells that were located on the basis of type sites yielded from slightly above average to as much as six times the average yield to be expected from particular rock types as reported in the literature. Only one well drilled at a type site had a less than average yield. One well not located at any of the type sites produced little water.
Long-term testing and monitoring after the wells were put into production showed that an 18-hour-on, 6-hour-off pumping cycle was much more effective in terms of total production, reduced head loss, and less drawdown than a 5-day-on and 2-day-off cycle. It was also observed that long-term yields by the production wells were about 75 percent of those predicted on the basis of 24-hour pumping tests and only about 60 percent of the driller's reported yields.
Cost analysis showed that, by using criteria-selected well sites, a cost-effective well system can be developed that will provide water at an equivalent or lower cost than a surface-water supply. The analysis showed that the system would be cost effective if only one high-yield well were obtained out of every four drilled.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Evaluation of site-selection criteria, well design, monitoring techniques, and cost analysis for a ground-water supply in Piedmont crystalline rocks, North Carolina
Water Supply Paper
U.S. G.P.O. ;
For sale by the Books and Open-File Reports Section, U.S. Geological Survey,