Paper No. 6-10
Presentation Time: 10:35 AM
APPLIED HYDROGEOLOGY FIELD TRAINING: AN EXAMPLE FROM THE WMU AQUIFER TESTING MODULE
Experiential training in the Geosciences is critical for producing high quality graduates that are proficient in field data collection, data analysis, and oral and written communication. The vast majority of undergraduate and many graduate Geoscience students have limited opportunities for exposure to, let alone developing proficiency in, the dominant field skills needed for a career in Hydrogeology. The Hydrogeology Field Course offered by the Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University is designed to meet these needs and is one of the very few hydro-technical programs in the United States. The course is divided into six condensed, one week modules that impart essential hydrogeologic field skills. This presentation will focus on the Aquifer Testing module which teaches students how to work effectively as teams to perform and analyze single-well slug, pneumatic, and step-drawdown tests and multi-well pumping tests. The Asylum Lake Preserve well field provides the physical setting for the multi-well test and is comprised of a pumping well and 14 monitoring wells completed in an unconfined, glacial outwash aquifer. The monitoring wells are organized into north-south and east-west transects for testing the assumption of radial symmetry and visualization of the cone of depression. A second well field located on the Asylum Lake Preserve are used for slug testing. Students are divided into groups to collect continuous drawdown and recovery data utilizing state-of-the-art pressure transducer arrays with real-time visual output and manual e-tape measurements. Consistent with a professional pumping test, student groups take turns monitoring the aquifer test during the evenings to collect data on head and pumping rate, maintaining the generator, and to ensure the test is running as intended. Condensed lectures on pumping well design and efficiency, slug and pumping test analysis are held during the day, followed by analysis of the collected data in a computer lab setting using spreadsheets, plotting, and industry-standard aquifer analysis software. The final outcome of the course is a final report that is intended to serve as a professional-level hydrogeologic characterization of the Asylum Lake Preserve aquifer system.