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Cross-well slug testing in unconfined aquifers: A case study from the Sleepers River Watershed, Vermont

January 1, 1999

Normally, slug test measurements are limited to the well in which the water level is perturbed. Consequently, it is often difficult to obtain reliable estimates of hydraulic properties, particularly if the aquifer is anisotropic or if there is a wellbore skin. In this investigation, we use partially penetrating stress and observation wells to evaluate specific storage, radial hydraulic conductivity and anisotropy of the aquifer, and the hydraulic conductivity of the borehole skin. The study site is located in the W9 subbasin of the Sleepers River Research Watershed, Vermont. At the site, ∼3 m of saturated till are partially penetrated by a stress well located in the center of the unconfined aquifer and six observation wells located above, below, and at the depth of the stress well at radial distances of 1.2 and 2.4 m. The observation wells were shut in with inflatable packers.

The semianalytical solution of Butler (1995) was used to conduct a sensitivity analysis and to interpret slug test results. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the response of the stress well is primarily sensitive to radial hydraulic conductivity, less sensitiive to anisotropy and the conductivity of the borehole skin, and nearly insensitive to specific storage. In contrast, the responses of the observation wells are sensitive to all four parameters. Interpretation of the field data was facilitated by generating type curves in a manner analogous to the method of Cooper et al. (1967). Because the value of radial hydraulic conductivty is obtained from a match point, the number of unknowns is reduced to three. The estimated values of radial hydraulic conductivity and specific storage are comparable to those derived from the methods of Bouwer and Rice (1976) and Cooper et al. (1967). The values and skin conductivity, however, could not have been obtained without the use of observation wells.

Publication Year 1999
Title Cross-well slug testing in unconfined aquifers: A case study from the Sleepers River Watershed, Vermont
DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1999.tb01123.x
Authors Kenneth Belitz, W. Dripps
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ground Water
Index ID 70021577
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center