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Hydrology Coursework

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a. Groundwater plume

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

( )

= 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.

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

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.

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.

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'

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.

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