ASTM D5490 - 93(2008)

    Standard Guide for Comparing Groundwater Flow Model Simulations to Site-Specific Information

    Active Standard ASTM D5490 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.08


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    Significance and Use

    During the process of calibration of a groundwater flow model, each simulation is compared to site-specific information to ascertain the success of previous calibration efforts and to identify potentially beneficial directions for further calibration efforts. Procedures described herein provide guidance for making comparisons between groundwater flow model simulations and measured field data.

    This guide is not meant to be an inflexible description of techniques comparing simulations with measured data; other techniques may be applied as appropriate and, after due consideration, some of the techniques herein may be omitted, altered, or enhanced.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers techniques that should be used to compare the results of groundwater flow model simulations to measured field data as a part of the process of calibrating a groundwater model. This comparison produces quantitative and qualitative measures of the degree of correspondence between the simulation and site-specific information related to the physical hydrogeologic system.

    1.2 During the process of calibration of a groundwater flow model, each simulation is compared to site-specific information such as measured water levels or flow rates. The degree of correspondence between the simulation and the physical hydrogeologic system can then be compared to that for previous simulations to ascertain the success of previous calibration efforts and to identify potentially beneficial directions for further calibration efforts.

    1.3 By necessity, all knowledge of a site is derived from observations. This guide does not address the adequacy of any set of observations for characterizing a site.

    1.4 This guide does not establish criteria for successful calibration, nor does it describe techniques for establishing such criteria, nor does it describe techniques for achieving successful calibration.

    1.5 This guide is written for comparing the results of numerical groundwater flow models with observed site-specific information. However, these techniques could be applied to other types of groundwater related models, such as analytical models, multiphase flow models, noncontinuum (karst or fracture flow) models, or mass transport models.

    1.6 This guide is one of a series of guides on groundwater modeling codes (software) and their applications. Other standards have been prepared on environmental modeling, such as Practice E978.

    1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.8 This guide offers an organized collection of information or a series of options and does not recommend a specific course of action. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of this guide may be applicable in all circumstances. This ASTM standard is not intended to represent or replace the standard of care by which the adequacy of a given professional service must be judged, nor should this document be applied without consideration of a project's many unique aspects. The word Standard in the title of this document means only that the document has been approved through the ASTM consensus process.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    E978 Practice for Evaluating Mathematical Models for the Environmental Fate of Chemicals


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.060 (Geology. Meteorology. Hydrology); 13.060.10 (Water of natural resources)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D5490-93R08

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