Comparison of Hydraulic Conductivity Values Obtained from Aquifer Pumping Tests and Conservative Tracer Tests


A field site was established in an area of glacial outwash near Des Moines, Iowa. Hydraulic conductivity (K) of the outwash was measured in various ways including six pumping tests and two natural‐gradient Cl‐ tracer tests. The velocity of the conservative tracer was converted to K using measured gradients and effective porosity determined from two radial‐convergent Cl‐ tracer tests.

K values measured from the conservative tracer tests are approximately one‐tenth to one‐twentieth the average pumping‐test value. Thus the K relevant to solute transport does not reflect the K measured by pumping tests. This discrepancy may be caused by the different scale and dimensionality of the two test types. Dispersion may prevent solutes from flowing exclusively within smaller high‐conductivity paths which strongly affect the K measured by pumping tests.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

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Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation