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HYDROLOGY COURSEWORK

a. Groundwater plume

Figure 1: A confined sand aquifer with groundwater flow


The question gives the following data about the confined sand aquifer;
Thickness of confined aquifer = 10m
Distance between the wells = 300m
Difference in water level of the wells = 2m
Hydraulic conductivity of aquifer = 50m/day
Since the confined aquifer is made up of sand, the data given based on sand
are;
Porosity = 34% = 0.34
Specific Yield = 25% = 0.25
Firstly, the average linear velocity, v needs to be calculated. This is to know the
distance that the contaminated drinking water will move in a specific span of
time.
Average linear velocity, v =

Where

dh
dL

( )

= Hydraulic conductivity (m/day)

= Porosity
dh = Change in head between the wells (m)
dL = Horizontal distance between the two wells (m)
v =

dh
dL

v =

50 m/day 2m
0.34
300 m

( )
(

v = 0.98 m/day
This shows that in one day, the contaminated drinking water will move a
distance of 0.98m from the monitoring well towards the drinking water well.

Since the distance between the monitoring well and the drinking water well
is 300m, the time taken for the the contaminated drinking water to move
this distance can be calculated.
Time taken for drinking water to move, t =

L
v'

Where
L = Distance between the two wells (m)
v = Average linear velocity (m/day)

t=

L
v'

t=

300 m
0.98 m/day

t = 306 days
This shows that it takes 306 days for the drinking water to move from the
monitoring well to the drinking water well.

Time taken for drinking water well to be contaminated = 306 days

b. Flow through an aquitard


The question gives the following data about the system;
Recharge rate (Darcy Flux) = 0.09m/year
Head in confined aquifer below the water table of the unconfined aquifer = 6.8m
Thickness of aquitard = 4.1m

Unconfined Aquifer
6.8
m
4.1
m

Aquitard

Confined
Aquifer

Flow

Figure 2: A confined sand aquifer with groundwater flow


A few assumptions have been made:
1. The flow is horizontal in the aquifers
2. The flow is vertical in the aquitard separating the two aquifers
Based on the assumptions and figure 2, it can be concluded that:
1. Change in head between the two aquifers
= Head in confined aquifer below the water table of the unconfined aquifer
= 6.8m
2. Horizontal distance between the two aquifers
= Thickness of aquitard
= 4.1m
i.

Hydraulic conductivity of aquitard


To find the hydraulic conductivity of the aquitard, the following equation can
be used:
dh
Recharge rate, q = K dL
Where K = Hydraulic conductivity (m/year)
dh = Change in head between the two aquifers (m)
dL = Horizontal distance between the two aquifers (m)
dh
q = K dL
dL
K = q dh

4.1 m
K = (0.09 m/year) 6.8 m
K = 0.05 m/year
ii.

Hydraulic conductivity of the aquitard, K = 0.05m/year


Composition of aquitard
The composition of the aquitard can be concluded by looking at the porosity
or the specific yield of the substance.
The porosity of the substance can be calculated using the formula below:
Porosity of substance, =

q
v'

Where q = Recharge rate (m/year)


v = True velocity of groundwater flow (m/year)
Since the value of the true velocity of groundwater flow, v is not given, the
porosity cannot be calculated.
Another method that can be used to deduce the composition of the aquitard
is by referring to figure 3.
The range of values of the
hydraulic conductivity in figure
3 is in the unit of m/day.
Based
on
the
previous
calculation;
Hydraulic conductivity of the
aquitard, K = 0.05 m/year
K = 1.37 10 m/day
According to figure 3, the
aquitard could be made out of
glacial
till,
sandstone
or
limestone and dolomite. Since it
is stated that the material has a
lesser relative permeability, the
aquitard could be made out of
sandstone or limestone and
dolomite.
The aquitard could be made out
of sandstone or limestone and
dolomite.
Figure 3: Range of values of
hydraulic conductivity of
different materials

Bibliography
1. Anon, (2014). [image] Available at:
http://www.ees.rochester.edu/fehnlab/ees215/fig11_1.jpg [Accessed 5 Oct.
2014].
2. Erfani, T. (2014). Water Quality.