Clarification of lake water prior to artificial recharge by wells
Winn, Robert Maurice
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During a y ear of average rainfall on the High Plains, approximately 1,400,000 acre-feet of water collects in the myriad of shallow playa lakes which dot the surface of the Plains. Conservation of this runoff water is imperative. Artificial recharge of the underground reservoir with the surface water provides a partial answer to the storage problem. Prior to recharge, the turbid lake water must be cleared of suspended solids to prevent clogging of the well and the aquifer. The chemical flocculating agent, Separan AP-30, was used for clearing the water. Separan AP-30 is an organic, non-ionic polyacrylamide, prepared and furnished by The Dow Chemical Company. Various methods of applying the chemical to the turbid water were conducted. First, a dilute, aqueous solution of the polymer was tested. This solution was mixed with the water in various proportions. Results indicated that less than 50 percent of the suspended solids were removed. Second, the dry, powdered form of the chemical was used. This was applied to the lake surface by an airplane equipped for such work. More than 76 percent of the suspended solids were removed by this method. Water clarification has long been an established practice. However, this is a preliminary study of clearing playa lake water of suspended solids by a chemical agent prior to artificial recharge by means of wells. The economy of the High Plains is dependent upon the available supply of ground water. The gain in the amount of water available for irrigation and industrial use and the recovery of the land more than offsets the expense of the recharge operation. A breakdown of general recharge well construction costs is also included.