Induced Infiltration Animation:
Woburn Wells G & H and the Aberjona River
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
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This page first made public: Nov 4, 2005
The animation was created in TecPlot and can be viewed in the Windows Media Player, QuickTime Video, and Real Player. It is based on a calibrated groundwater flow model constructed using MODFLOW and a solute transport model constructed using MT3D by Maura Metheny for her Ph.D. dissertation.
To portray the movement of river water through the aquifer to the pumping wells, 100 ppb of an unretarded solute was placed in the model cells representing the Aberjona River. When normal hydraulic gradients near the river reverse and induced infiltration occurs due to well pumping, solute moves out into the unconfined aquifer toward the pumping wells, whereas when the wells stop pumping and hydraulic gradients revert back to normal, solute slowly moves back toward the river as it is flushed from the aquifer by groundwater discharge to the river.
Solute concentrations in the aquifer were computed monthly from 1960 to 1986. Municipal wells G and H operated periodically from October 1964 to May 1979. A well operated by the Riley Tannery, which was later bought by Beatrice Foods, was used from before 1960 to after 1986.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
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Content/concepts goals for this activity
My goals in having students view this animation are to have students become aware that:
- temporal changes occur in almost all hydrologic processes—that flow systems are rarely steady state for long,
- river water chemistry can have a major impact on groundwater chemistry when induced infiltration occurs,
- mixing and filtration are important geochemical processes,
- partially penetrating screens on pumping wells produce non-textbook flow paths, and
- once contaminated, aquifers can take to years to flush contaminants.
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Download teaching materials and tips
- Animation of induced infiltration. ( 45.6MB Oct28 05) This animation shows the percentage of river water in wells G and H and the tannery wells from 1960 - 1986. The simulation shows a map view and various cross-section views.
- Animated time-log (Excel 18kB Aug9 05) This excel file describes what is occurring in the induced infiltration animation and the associated hydrogeologic reasons.
Aurillo, A.C., R.P. Mason, and H.F. Hemond, 1994. Speciation and fate of arsenic in three lakes of the Aberjona watershed, Environmental Science and Technology, v. 28, no. 4, p. 577-585.
Bair, E.S., and M.A. Metheny, 2002. Remediation of the Wells G & H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts, Ground Water, vol. 40, no 6, p. 657-668.
Bair, E.S., 2001, Models in the Courtroom, Chapter 5, in Model Validation, Perspectives in Hydrological Science, M.G. Anderson and P.D. Bates, eds., John W. Wiley & Sons Ltd., West Sussex, England, 57-76.
Davis, A., J.H. Kempton, A. Nicholson, and B. Yare, 1994. Groundwater transport of arsenic and chromium at a historical tannery, Woburn, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Applied Geochemistry, v. 9, p. 569-582.
Harr, J., 1995, "A Civil Action," Random House, New York, 500 p.
Metheny, M.A., 2004, "Evaluation of Groundwater Flow and Contaminant Transport at the Wells G & H Superfund Site, Woburn, Massachusetts, from 1960 to 1986 and Estimation of TCE and PCE Concentrations Delivered to Woburn Residences," Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 346 pp.
Metheny, M.A., 1998, "Numerical Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Advective Transport at Woburn, Massachusetts, Based on a Sedimentological Model of Glacial and Glaciofluvial Deposition," M.S. thesis, Department of Geological Sciences, The Ohio State University, 197 pp.
Metheny, M.A., and E.S. Bair, 2001. The Science Behind A Civil Action—The Hydrogeology of the Aberjona River, Wetland and Woburn Wells G and H, West, D.P. and R.H. Bailey, eds., in Guidebook for the Geological Field Trips in New England, 2001 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America, p. D1-D25, Boston, Massachusetts.
Metheny, M.A., E.S. Bair, and D.K. Solomon, 2001. Applying variable recharge to a 19-year simulation of groundwater flow in Woburn, Massachusetts and comparing model results to 3H/3He ages, Seo, H.S., E. Poeter, C. Zheng, and O. Poeter, eds., in MODFLOW 2001 and Other Modeling Odysseys—Conference Proceedings, vol. 2, p. 783-789, International Ground Water Modeling Center, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
Myette, C.F., J.C. Olimpio, and D.G. Johnson, 1987, Area of influence and zone of contribution to Superfund-site Wells G and H, Woburn, Massachusetts; U. S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4100, 21 p.
Spliethoff, H.M., and H.F. Hemond, 1996. History of toxic metal discharge to surface waters of the Aberjona watershed, Environmental Science Technology, v. 30, no. 1, p. 121-128.