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The use of slug tests to describe vertical variations in hydraulic conductivity

January 1, 1994

Multilevel slug tests provide one means of obtaining estimates of hydraulic conductivity on a scale of relevance for contaminant transport investigations. A numerical model is employed here to assess the potential of multilevel slug tests to provide information about vertical variations in hydraulic conductivity under conditions commonly faced in field settings. The results of the numerical simulations raise several important issues concerning the effectiveness of this technique. If the length of the test interval is of the order of the average layer thickness, considerable error may be introduced into the conductivity estimates owing to the effects of adjoining layers. The influence of adjoining layers is dependent on the aspect ratio (length of test interval/well radius) of the tesy interval and the flow properties of the individual layers. If a low-permeability skin is present at the well, the measured vertical variations will be much less than the actual variations, owing to the influence of the skin conductivity on the parameter estimates. A high-permeability skin can also produce apparent vertical variations that are much less than the actual, owing to water flowing vertically along the conductive skin. In cases where the test interval spans a number of layers, a slug test will yield an approximate thickness-weighted average of the hydraulic conductivities of the intersected layers. In most cases, packer circumvention should not be a major concern when packers of 0.75 m or longer are employed. Results of this study are substantiated by recently reported field tests that demonstrate the importance of well emplacement and development activities for obtaining meaningful estimates from a program of multilevel slug tests. ?? 1994.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title The use of slug tests to describe vertical variations in hydraulic conductivity
Authors J.J. Butler, Geoffrey C. Bohling, Z. Hyder, C.D. McElwee
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology
Series Number
Index ID 70017078
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization