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Doing And Understanding: Installing Monitoring Wells To Understand Groundwater Hydraulics

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.480.1 - 9.480.7

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Paper Authors

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Josh Goldowitz

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Session 1793

Doing and Understanding: Installing Monitoring Wells to Understand Groundwater Hydraulics

Joshua Goldowitz

Department of Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Management Technology & Safety Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 14623


“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Engineering Technology educators have always focused on the last phrase of this famous Confucian saying. This paper presents a unique “doing” approach for deeper understanding of groundwater hydraulics. Each year, students in Introduction to Hydrology Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology install a groundwater monitoring network into a confined silty sand aquifer. Students working in small groups install wells to approximately 15 feet depth using hand augers and standard materials (well points, slotted screen, riser, lockable cap, sand pack, bentonite seal, cement grout, and concrete surface completion). Design elements include well placement, well depth, well construction material, and well screen slot size. After preparing well logs and geologic cross sections the students determine hydraulic conductivity, groundwater flow direction, gradient, discharge and velocity, comparing the results obtained through classical techniques and popular software. Each group prepares a “consultants report” and presents their findings to a “client”, the professor. Students enjoy this innovative five week project, and report that it makes a relatively difficult topic understandable. This paper presents technical issues, field techniques and learning outcomes. Examples of student work are included, along with a discussion of how this activity could be replicated at other institutions.


Rochester Institute of Technology enjoys a 1,300 acre campus south of Rochester New York . It lies within the Ontario Lowlands physiographic province, an area of 10,000 year old glacial deposits. The state was covered by up to a mile of ice during the Wisconsin glacial maxima, which left the site covered by a 30 foot thick layer of glacial outwash and lake deposits over Cambrian age limestone bedrock. The surficial deposits form a fining upwards sequence, grading from a sandy gravel at 12’ to a clay at the surface. This sequence contains a confined

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposxition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Goldowitz, J. (2004, June), Doing And Understanding: Installing Monitoring Wells To Understand Groundwater Hydraulics Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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