Tara Kulkarni,
Norwich University


A course that covers the basic principles of groundwater flow, including its development and protection as a natural resource, and the assessment and remediation of groundwater contamination.

Course Size:

Institution Type:
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course Context:

This is a lower level class with few pre-requisites. It is taken by Geology and Environmental Science majors and as a science elective by some Civil and Environmental Engineering students

Course Content:

This course covers the hydrologic cycle in great depth. It also delves into the properties of water - physical and chemical and media as regards subsurface flow. Field methods, regional hydrogeology and subsurface contamination investigations are all covered.

Course Goals:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the hydrologic cycle in the specific context of groundwater, its flow and local and regional distribution, as a natural resource
  2. Use analytical knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry to calculate basic aquifer properties and describe the interactive processes between the aquifer and groundwater
  3. Develop basic mapping and modeling skills to track groundwater flow and movement as well as contaminant plumes that will flow with groundwater
  4. Formulate techniques to develop groundwater as a water source.
  5. Create strategies to assess groundwater contamination by studying field methods.
  6. Gain an understanding of some basic remediation methods that are used to clean up subsurface contamination.
  7. Communicate using written and oral tools and engage peers in a scientific dialogue

Course Features:

Assignments that reiterate classroom concepts and a term paper/project that helps students apply some of the information they have learnt to a topic of interest to them.

Course Philosophy:

I have students from all four years in three different majors for this course. This design helps me work with their various capabilities, and learning styles. My goals is to make this classroom representative of the real life teams I've worked on that have comprised on geologists, scientists, and engineers, all lending in their voices, and expertise to solve a common hydrogeological problem. A secondary goal is to encourage the engineering students to read, process, discuss, and write more than they are used to; and to dispel fears of "math is hard" in the science students, by breaking down the quantitative portions of the subject and working on as many example problems as time permits.


Homework assignments, exams, paper, presentations, and attendance and in class participation.


Syllabus_GL199_Hydrogeology (Acrobat (PDF) 96kB Apr25 13)

Teaching Materials:

References and Notes:

Fetter, C.W. (2001). Applied Hydrogeology, Fourth Edition, Prentice Hall. ISBN – 0-13-088239-9
It covers the range of topics I want to cover.

USGS, NOAA, EPA websites