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Wellbore-Wall Compression Effects on Monitored Groundwater Levels and Qualities


Corresponding author: National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Kannondai 3-1-3, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8604, Japan; +81-29-838-8326; fax: +81-29-838-8199;


The effects of wellbore-wall compression from rough excavation on monitored groundwater levels and qualities under natural hydraulic gradient conditions were investigated in a shallow clayey Andisol aquifer. Nine wellbores reaching the underlying aquitard at about 2.6-m depth were constructed by dynamic cone penetrometry to mimic rough wellbore construction. Five of these were constructed under wet aquifer soil conditions and the remaining four under dry conditions. A 15-month period monitoring showed that the groundwater levels in the wellbores constructed under wet conditions responded significantly in retard of, and in narrower ranges than, those constructed under dry conditions. The wellbore-wall hydraulic conductivities at the former wellbores were calculated to be more than one to two orders of magnitude lower than those at the latter ones. Furthermore, remarkable nitrate removal attributable to the occurrence of a heterotrophic denitrification was observed in one of the former wellbores. In contrast, the groundwater levels and qualities in the latter wellbores appeared to be generally similar to those monitored in the conventional soil coring and augering-derived wellbores. Our results suggest that the wellbore-wall compression induced by rough excavation under wet and soft aquifer soil conditions leads to a substantial decrease in the wellbore-wall hydraulic conductivity, which in turn can lead to unreliable groundwater levels and qualities. This problem can occur in clayey Andisols whenever the aquifer soil is wet; however, the problem can be largely avoided by constructing the wellbore under dry and hard aquifer soil conditions.