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Use of tandem circulation wells


Conventional methods to measure the hydraulic conductivity of an aquifer on a relatively large scale (10–100 m) require extraction of significant quantities of groundwater. This can be expensive, and otherwise problematic, when investigating a contaminated aquifer. In this study, innovative approaches that make use of tandem circulation wells to measure hydraulic conductivity are proposed. These approaches measure conductivity on a relatively large scale, but do not require extraction of groundwater. Two basic approaches for using circulation wells to measure hydraulic conductivity are presented; one approach is based upon the dipole-flow test method, while the other approach relies on a tracer test to measure the flow of water between two recirculating wells. The approaches are tested in a relatively homogeneous and isotropic artificial aquifer, where the conductivities measured by both approaches are compared to each other and to the previously measured hydraulic conductivity of the aquifer. It was shown that both approaches have the potential to accurately measure horizontal and vertical hydraulic conductivity for a relatively large subsurface volume without the need to pump groundwater to the surface. Future work is recommended to evaluate the ability of these tandem circulation wells to accurately measure hydraulic conductivity when anisotropy and heterogeneity are greater than in the artificial aquifer used for these studies.

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