Preliminary study on the movement of silt and clay in a water-bearing formation



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Texas Tech University


The problem of a future water shortage on the Southern High Plains of Texas is a serious one. The economy of the region depends on an adequate ground water supply and the current demands far exceed the amounts being replenished through natural recharge. At the same time, large amounts of water are being wasted through evaporation from the numerous playa lakes of the area. One of the means under study to forestall a shortage of water in future years is to utilize this playa lake water by storing it in the ground through artificial recharge by means of wells.

One of the problems connected with artificial recharge by means of wells in this area is that of the clogging of the aquifer caused by the suspended particles in the lake water^ This study is a preliminary investigation of the movement of these particles and of their effect on the water-bearing formation.

Recharge and pumping tests were conducted on March 12 and 13, 1959, at a multiple-purpose well located near the town of Halfway, Texas. Samples were collected from observation wells nearby and analyzed in the laboratory by means of the pipette method of analysis. Efforts to trace the movement of the various sized particles within the aquifer were unsuccessful because the weight of suspended solids per unit volume of water was too low.

In a comparison with previous tests, it was determined that a higher percentage of clay sized particles can be removed from the aquifer by surging the well during the pumping cycle. Other practices for prolonging the life of a recharge well are also mentioned.

Experiments conducted with a small sand table model indicated that the use of such a model to simulate aquifer conditions in the laboratory is impractical.

A bibliography on artificial recharge by means of wells for the period January, 1955, to April, 1959, is also included.



Water conservation -- Texas -- South Plains