The research objective of my thesis was to evaluate the utility of a broad range of field site characterization techniques designed to assess the vulnerability of public supply wells to water quality impacts from surface contamination. Specific attention was paid to determining which data is most useful to collect to evaluate well vulnerability, to finding connections between different parameters for potential data surrogates, and to attempt to streamline data collection and analysis for well vulnerability field assessments.
The case study was conducted on the Alder Creek Watershed, located outside of Kitchener-Waterloo. Throughout a 60-day pumping test on a municipal supply well located adjacent to Alder Creek, a myriad of data were collected. This included meteorological data, hydraulic data, water quality samples, temperature measurements, and more from the surface water, pumping well, and the network of multi-level monitoring wells throughout the site.
This allowed for an extensive set to be constructed and for conclusions to be made regarding the mixing of shallow and deep groundwater. Ultimately, several major improvements to vulnerability indices were suggestions, including how to better utilize physically measured data from hydrogeologic investigation and the need to accommodate for variable conditions such as seasonality and extreme weather events when quantifying vulnerability. Specific to the site, the data set allowed for further understand of the shallow and deep groundwater system characteristics, developed a conceptual model of groundwater movement, identified the potential interaction of shallow and deep groundwater systems, and allowed for the advisement of future long-term monitoring when considering water quality data, surface water fluxes, and climatic influences. More specific conclusions, along with the data set and accompanying background information and experimental design can we viewed within my thesis, available for download here: https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/handle/10012/8683
This research was made possible through support from NSERC and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, along with the Canadian Water Network, Grand River Conservation Authority, Stantec, the Southern Ontario Water Consortium, and more. Special mention must also go to the supervisor, Dr. David L. Rudolph, committee members Walter Illman and William Robertson, and members of the Rudolph Group Andrew Wiebe, Paul Johnson, Bob Ingleton, and Brewster Conant. There were also many students were in invaluable to the process: Kristen Blowes, Jamie Dickout, Lauren Harrison, Jack Robertson, James Elliot, and Paul Menkveld. Thank you all!