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A Multi Faceted Hydrology Experiment For Enriching Our Undergr

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.26.1 - 3.26.8



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Paper Authors

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Richard D'Amato

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2251



I. INTRODUCTION Fieldwork is an integral part of most engineering disciplines, particularly environmental engineering. Assessing the impact of environmental problems often requires field investigations. Engineering students need to develop the confidence to work in the field. Lectures, problem solving exercises and computer simulations are essential tools in training our students, however, no amount of LabView ® simulations can substitute for “hands-on” experience. In an attempt to assure our students receive some field experience before graduating and undertaking their profession, they participate in several environmental engineering laboratory exercises out in the field.

A laboratory exercise that has been used with great success in Mercer University’s Environmental Engineering program is a unique combination of environmental and civil engineering techniques. This hydrology experiment was created in order to give our students some in-field experience and introduce them to some of the basic tools, both physical and analytical, of the environmental engineer. This experiment includes the construction of groundwater monitoring wells, basic surveying, flow net construction and an introduction into groundwater flow estimations. The purpose of this paper is to describe this field exercise.

II. BACKGROUND Protection of our water resources is a major concern of environmental engineers. Sources of fresh water are precious and need to be monitored and protected. Whether through ignorance or carelessness, our fresh water supply is continually endangered by many of man’s activities.

A major source of fresh water is groundwater located in subterranean aquifers. This groundwater can be investigated using monitoring wells. A monitoring well is typically a screened PVC pipe (Figure 1). It serves as an observation port between the aquifer and the ground surface. For an unconfined aquifer, watertable elevations can be obtained with monitoring wells. For a confined aquifer, pressure heads are measured. With this information, groundwater flow direction can be determined.

This monitoring well can also be used as an access port for extracting water samples for chemical testing. Environmental engineers, in their effort to monitor and protect these aquifers, find great use for this information on groundwater flow and chemical composition.

III. PROCEDURE In the laboratory, the class is instructed on the proper construction of a monitoring well (Figure 1). They are then asked to determine the minimum number of wells needed to determine the three-dimensional surface of the groundwater table, assuming it is flat. Once we agree that three wells/points will be sufficient to define a plane, such as this groundwater surface, the class

D'Amato, R. (1998, June), A Multi Faceted Hydrology Experiment For Enriching Our Undergr Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7298

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