Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020SD100B

Understanding Contaminant Transport Processes in the Madison Aquifer

Institute: South Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,000

Principal Investigators: Liangping Li

Abstract: Several of the larger communities and national parks in western South Dakota rely heavily upongroundwater from the Madison aquifer, including Rapid City, Spearfish, Hot Springs, and WindCave National Park. The Madison aquifer is composed of limestone and dolomite and is karstic,with a complex hydro-geologic system where flow and transport predominantly occur throughpreferred flow paths and conduits. The spatial distribution of conduits plays a key role forunderstanding flow and contaminant transport responses. The goal of this project is thedevelopment of a model-data integration methodology, which optimally exploits observations forthe estimation and prediction of conduits in space, groundwater levels and contaminantconcentrations, and ensuing flow and transport processes in the karst system. In particular, the multiple-point geo-statistics will be used to model the conduits, and groundwater flow and transport models will be created accordingly. The results of this work will provide fundamental understanding how groundwater flow and contaminant transport in complex geological formation, in particular for the karst aquifer, and thereby ensuring a sustainable use of groundwater resources.