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    ASTM D5912 - 20

    Standard Practice for (Analytical Procedure) Determining Hydraulic Conductivity of an Unconfined Aquifer by Overdamped Well Response to Instantaneous Change in Head (Slug)

    Active Standard ASTM D5912 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 Assumptions of Solution: 

    5.1.1 Drawdown (or mounding) of the water table around the well is negligible.

    5.1.2 Flow above the water table can be ignored.

    5.1.3 Head losses as the water enters or leaves the well are negligible.

    5.1.4 The aquifer is homogeneous and isotropic.

    Note 6: Slug and pumping tests implicitly assume a porous medium. Fractured rock and carbonate settings may not provide meaningful data and information.

    5.2 Implications of Assumptions: 

    5.2.1 The mathematical equations applied ignore inertial effects and assume that the water level returns to the static level in an approximate exponential manner.

    5.2.2 The geometric configuration of the well and aquifer are shown in Fig. 1, that is after Fig. 1 of Bouwer and Rice (1).

    Note 7: Short term refers to the duration of the slug test.

    Note 8: The function of wells in any unconfined setting in a fractured terrain might make the determination of k problematic because the wells might only intersect tributary or subsidiary channels or conduits. The problems determining the k of a channel or conduit notwithstanding, the partial penetration of tributary channels may make a determination of a meaningful number difficult. If plots of k in carbonates and other fractured settings are made and compared, they may show no indication that there are conduits or channels present, except when with the lowest probability one maybe intersected by a borehole and can be verified, such problems are described by Smart (1999) (6). Additional guidance can be found in Guide D5717.

    Note 9: The comparison of data from various methods on variable head permeability tests has been documented. Variation in instrumentation, assumptions and calculational methods will lead to differing results (7). Users should be familiar with the assumptions, instrumentation and calculational aspects of the test when evaluating the results (8).

    Note 10: The quality of the result produced by this standard is dependent on the competence of the personnel performing it, and the suitability of the equipment and facilities used. Agencies that meet the criteria of Practice D3740 are generally considered capable of competent and objective testing/sampling/inspection/etc. Users of this standard are cautioned that compliance with Practice D3740 does not in itself assure reliable results. Reliable results depend on many factors; Practice D3740 provides a means of evaluating some of those factors.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice covers the determination of hydraulic conductivity from the measurement of inertial force free (overdamped) response of a well-aquifer system to a sudden change in water level in a well. Inertial force free response of the water level in a well to a sudden change in water level is characterized by recovery to initial water level in an approximate exponential manner with negligible inertial effects.

    1.2 The analytical procedure in this practice is used in conjunction with the field procedure in Test Method D4044/D4044M for collection of test data.

    1.3 Limitations—Slug tests are considered to provide an estimate of hydraulic conductivity. The determination of storage coefficient is not practicable with this practice. Because the volume of aquifer material tested is small, the values obtained are representative of materials very near the open portion of the control well.

    Note 1: Slug tests are usually considered to provide estimates of the lower limit of the actual hydraulic conductivity of an aquifer because the test results are so heavily influenced by well efficiency and borehole skin effects near the open portion of the well. The portion of the aquifer that is tested by the slug test is limited to an area near the open portion of the well where the aquifer materials may have been altered during well installation, and therefore may significantly impact the test results. In some cases, the data may be misinterpreted and result in a higher estimate of hydraulic conductivity. This is due to the reliance on early time data that is reflective of the hydraulic conductivity of the filter pack surrounding the well. This effect was discussed by Bouwer (1).2 In addition, because of the reliance on early time data, in aquifers with medium to high hydraulic conductivity, the early time portion of the curve that is useful for this data analyses is too short (for example, <10 s) for accurate measurement; therefore, the test results begin to greatly underestimate the true hydraulic conductivity.

    1.4 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard. Reporting of test results in units other than SI shall not be regarded as nonconformance with this standard.

    1.5 All observed and calculated values shall conform to the guidelines for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D6026.

    1.5.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in the standard are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that generally should be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the user’s objectives; and it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of these test methods to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering data.

    1.6 This practice offers a set of instructions for performing one or more specific operations. This document cannot replace education or experience and should be used in conjunction with professional judgment. Not all aspects of the practice 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 the 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 he ASTM consensus process.

    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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.8 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    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

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4043 Guide for Selection of Aquifer Test Method in Determining Hydraulic Properties by Well Techniques

    D5717 Guide for Design of Ground-Water Monitoring Systems in Karst and Fractured-Rock Aquifers

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/D5912-20

    Citation Format

    ASTM D5912-20, Standard Practice for (Analytical Procedure) Determining Hydraulic Conductivity of an Unconfined Aquifer by Overdamped Well Response to Instantaneous Change in Head (Slug), ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2020, www.astm.org

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