A single-well tracing method for estimating regional advective velocity in a confined aquifer: Theory and preliminary laboratory verification


  • Darrell I. Leap,

  • Paul G. Kaplan


An equation is derived by which advective groundwater velocity in a confined aquifer may be estimated by a single-well tracer test in which a single tracer pulse is allowed to drift from the well and then pumped back to the well and sampled to obtain a breakthrough curve. Although similar in methodology to preexisting methods, this method differs in that it takes into account ambient groundwater movement during the pumpback phase. Using sodium chloride as a tracer solution, a series of small-scale tests were run in a laboratory sand tank model to test the theory. Results of linear flow tracer tests through the model, simulating unperturbed regional advective flow at known velocities, were compared to results of single-well drift-and-pumpback tests conducted during linear flow through the model. Advective velocities computed by both types of tests were identical, thus proving the validity of the equation.