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Update of the groundwater flow model for the Great Miami buried-valley aquifer in the vicinity of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio

November 16, 2021

A previously constructed numerical model simulating the regional groundwater flow system in the vicinity of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, was updated to incorporate current hydrologic stresses and conditions and improve the usefulness of the model for water-supply planning and protection. The original model, which simulated conditions from 1997 to 2001, was reconstructed with the most recently available U.S. Geological Survey groundwater modeling software and recalibrated to represent average groundwater flow conditions for the period of October 2018.

The steady-state, three-dimensional, three-layer MODFLOW model of the aquifer encompasses about 241 square miles in Montgomery, Greene, and Clark Counties. The Great Miami buried-valley aquifer consists of glacial sands and gravels in a buried bedrock valley. The shale bedrock in the area is poorly permeable, but the glacial deposits can yield as much as 2,000 gallons per minute to wells. As groundwater is the primary source of drinking water in the heavily populated study area, groundwater pumping from the buried-valley aquifer represents the largest time-varying stress in the groundwater flow model. The model simulated 228 pumped wells. Hydraulic conductivities in the model ranged from less than 1 foot per day to 450 feet per day. Simulated recharge rates ranged from 6 inches per year to 12.2 inches per year. Boundary conditions and aquifer properties were unchanged from the previous model. Model grid spacing and orientation also were not modified from the previous model.

Parameter estimation software was used to optimize model input parameters by matching simulated values to observed (estimated or measured) values. Calibrated parameters included horizontal hydraulic conductivity, vertical hydraulic conductivity, riverbed conductance, and recharge. Model calibration used measured water levels (hydraulic heads) from 124 observation wells, and streamflow gain/loss measurements from select reaches of the Mad River and its tributaries were compared with simulated streamflow gain/loss. Performance of the updated model is similar to previous studies. Eighty-one percent of simulated hydraulic heads were within 10 feet of the measured hydraulic heads, but comparison of the simulated streamflow gain/loss with the measured gain/loss indicates that streamflow gain/loss is not well represented by the updated model.

The particle tracking program MODPATH was used to calculate groundwater flow paths from recharge areas to selected existing and proposed groundwater withdrawal sites that service Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Areas contributing groundwater to withdrawal sites were delineated based on 1-, 5-, and 10-year groundwater travel times. In addition, groundwater flow paths were calculated to simulate a groundwater release at eight sites near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Update of the groundwater flow model for the Great Miami buried-valley aquifer in the vicinity of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio
DOI 10.3133/sir20215115
Authors Alexander D. Riddle
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2021-5115
Index ID sir20215115
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center

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