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Pumping test analysis using a layered cylindrical grid numerical model in a complex, heterogeneous Chalk Aquifer

By M.M. Mansour, A.G. Hughes, A.E.F. Spink and J. Riches


A groundwater investigation including several pumping tests has been carried out by Thames Water Utilities Limited (TWUL) to improve the understanding of the distribution of hydraulic properties of the Chalk in the Swanscombe area of Kent in south-eastern England. The pumping test behaviour is complicated by: the fractured condition of the Chalk, simultaneous pumping from adjacent boreholes, and variable pumping rates during the test. In addition, the groundwater flow system is complicated by quarrying of the Chalk. Analytical solutions for pumping test analysis fail to represent these complex flow processes and cannot reproduce the observed time drawdown curves. A layered cylindrical grid numerical model has been applied to the results of the Swanscombe pumping test. This model can represent the heterogeneity of the aquifer and the detailed flow processes close to the abstraction borehole such as well storage, seepage face and well losses. It also includes a numerical representation of the moving water table using a grid that deforms to eliminate numerical instabilities. The analyses of the test results demonstrate that they are significantly influenced by fracture flow, which needs to be included to improve the simulation of the groundwater system; not withstanding this, the layered cylindrical grid numerical model reproduced many of the features in observed time-drawdown, which allowed an assessment of the hydraulic characteristics of the aquifer as well as the investigation of the impact of quarries on the test results. This has demonstrated that the numerical model is a powerful tool that can be used to analyse complex pumping tests and aid to improvement of the conceptual understanding of a groundwater system

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.02.005
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:14084

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