Modeling the potential impact of seasonal and inactive Multi-Aquifer wells on contaminant movement to public Water-Supply wells

R. L. Johnson, B. R. Clark, M. K. Landon, L. J. Kauffman, S. M. Eberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wells screened across multiple aquifers can provide pathways for the movement of surprisingly large volumes of groundwater to confined aquifers used for public water supply (PWS). Using a simple numerical model, we examine the impact of several pumping scenarios on leakage from an unconfined aquifer to a confined aquifer and conclude that a single inactive multi-aquifer well can contribute nearly 10% of total PWS well flow over a wide range of pumping rates. This leakage can occur even when the multi-aquifer well is more than a kilometer from the PWS well. The contribution from multi-aquifer wells may be greater under conditions where seasonal pumping (e.g., irrigation) creates large, widespread downward hydraulic gradients between aquifers. Under those conditions, water can continue to leak down a multi-aquifer well from an unconfined aquifer to a confined aquifer even when those multi-aquifer wells are actively pumped. An important implication is that, if an unconfined aquifer is contaminated, multi-aquifer wells can increase the vulnerability of a confined-aquifer PWS well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-596
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • Drinking water
  • Groundwater hydrology
  • Nonpoint source pollution
  • Point source pollution
  • Simulation
  • Source water protection
  • Water supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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