|REAL-TIME GROUND WATER MONITORING|
By: Dr. Paul Doss and Laura Bordelon
See water levels at USI
Designing a Real-Time monitoring system is the latest development in a series of undergraduate student projects. This monitoring system has built upon the work of recent student research projects, each having provided essential information for the current and future studies involving the Inglefield Aquifer. Initially, when two wells were installed at the construction site, Clark et al (2002) determined baseline physical and chemical data for the local Inglefield Aquifer.
Elpers et al (2003) created stratigraphic cross-sections and a potentiometric map of the Inglefield Aquifer in western Vanderburgh County, IN. This provided the working conceptual model that will help to design all future investigations of the physical hydrogeologic and water-quality characteristics of the local and regional aquifers and watersheds.
Inkenbrandt, et al (2005), Brown et al (2004), and Doss et al (2004) rigorously investigated the strong inverse correlation between groundwater-levels and barometric pressure, and the presence and significance of Earth-tide responses in the aquifer. These studies helped define the Inglefield Aquifer as confined with a rigid skeleton, and to constrain some of the physical descriptors of the aquifer (Hydraulic conductivity and Storability).
JUSTIFICATION & BENEFITS OF REAL-TIME MONITORING
Right: Doss and Bordelon conducting an interview about the local ground-water resource with a local network news affiliate. Left: Doss “showing off” the lab and describing some ground water instrumentation with members of the public during a USI Science Center outreach day.
As well as forming the centerpiece of an excellent learning resource for USI students, the monitoring lab provides real data and information about an important, local natural resource. Real time data provided from the instrumentation permits monitoring of the potential surface and comparison to other concurrent events. This monitoring will also provide a source of historical data on the local ground-water resource. Long-term data records are critical for the accurate interpretations of climatic and land use and development impacts on ground water (Taylor and Alley, 2002).
Historical data (long-term water-level records), combined with this internet based real-time monitoring, will provide information to those who are domestic users of the local aquifer (Elpers et al, 2003). Further, creating and displaying this record of a critical, but unmanaged resource may provide information that is relevant to city planning and land-use management strategies ( Alley et al, 1999). These historical data, combined with our recent isotope investigation (Curtis-Robinson and Doss, 2006), can aid in identifying recharge areas and travel paths. Knowledge of recharge areas, historical water level fluctuations, and water-quality monitoring may help provide source-water protection for domestic users of this aquifer (Alley et al, 1999).
Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Elizabeth Curtis-Robinson for helping to compile and program the Data Logger for the real-time monitoring effort. Thank you to Dr. James Durbin for supplying pictures. We must thank Gena Elpers, Carly Walton, Kieth Maasberg, Paul Inkenbrandt, Robert J. Brown, and Dr. Tom Pickett for their previous work in the lab and with the Inglefield Aquifer. Doss thanks the Pott College Barnett Research Award program for student support during this integrated program, and Bordelon thanks the USI RISC program for travel grant assistance.
Non-lab References Cited
Alley, W.M., Reilly, T.E., and Franke, O.L., 1999, Sustainability of Ground-Water Resources: U.S.
Geological Survey, Circular 1186, Denver, CO, 79 p.
Liu, L., Philpotts, A.R., and Gray, N.H., 2004, Service learning practice in upper division geoscience courses:
Bridging undergraduate learning, teaching, and research: J. Geoscience Education, Vol, 52, no. 2, pp.
Noll, , M. R., 2003, Building bridges between field and laboratory studies in an undergraduate groundwater
course: J. Geoscience Education, Vol, 51, no. 2, pp. 221-230.
Taylor, J. Charles and Alley M. William. 2002. Ground-Water-Level Monitoring and the Importance of Long-
Tern Water-Level Data. U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1217, Denver, CO, 68 p
Tedesco, L.P. and Salazar, K.A., 2006, Using environmental service learning in an urban environment to
address water quality issues: J. Geoscience Education, Vol, 53, no. 2, pp. 123-132.