Evaluation of methods for determination of hydraulic properties in an aquifer-aquitard system hydrologically connected to a river

Cheng Cheng, Xunhong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Field and laboratory methods have been used to determine the hydraulic properties in a multiple-layer aquifer - aquitard system that is hydrologically connected to a river. First, hypothetical pumping tests in aquifer-aquitard systems were performed to evaluate the feasibility of MODFLOW-PEST in determining these parameters. Sensitivity analyses showed that: the horizontal hydraulic conductivity in the aquifer has the highest composite sensitivity; the vertical hydraulic conductivity has higher composite sensitivity than the horizontal hydraulic conductivity in the aquitard; and a partial penetration pumping well in an aquifer layer can improve the quality of the estimated parameters. This inverse approach was then used to analyze a pumping-recovery test conducted near the Platte River in southeastern Nebraska, USA. The hydraulic conductivities and specific yield were calculated for the aquitard and aquifer. The direct-push technique was used to generate sediment columns; permeameter tests on these columns produced the vertical hydraulic conductivities that are compatible with those obtained from the pumping-recovery test. Thus, the combination of the direct-push technique with permeameter tests provides a new method for estimation of vertical hydraulic conductivity. The hydraulic conductivity, determined from grain-size analysis, is smaller than the horizontal one but larger than the vertical one determined by the pumping-recovery test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-678
Number of pages10
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Aquifer-aquitard
  • Direct-push technique
  • Hydraulic properties
  • Inverse modeling
  • Permeameter test
  • Pumping test
  • Vertical hydraulic conductivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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