Formation and Control of Self-Sealing High Permeability Groundwater Mounds in Impermeable Sediment: Implications for SUDS and Sustainable Pressure Mound Management
A groundwater mound (or pressure mound) is defined as a volume of fluid dominated by viscous flow contained within a sediment volume where the dominant fluid flow is by Knudsen Diffusion. High permeability self-sealing groundwater mounds can be created as part of a sustainable urban drainage scheme (SUDS) using infiltration devices. This study considers how they form, and models their expansion and growth as a function of infiltration device recharge. The mounds grow through lateral macropore propagation within a Dupuit envelope. Excess pressure relief is through propagating vertical surge shafts. These surge shafts can, when they intersect the ground surface result, in high volume overland flow. The study considers that the creation of self-sealing groundwater mounds in matrix supported (clayey) sediments (intrinsic permeability = 10 –8 to 10 –30 m 3 m –2 s –1 Pa –1 ) is a low cost, sustainable method which can be used to dispose of large volumes of storm runoff ( 3 /24 hr storm/infiltration device) and raise groundwater levels. However, the inappropriate location of pressure mounds can result in repeated seepage and ephemeral spring formation associated with substantial volumes of uncontrolled overland flow. The flow rate and flood volume associated with each overland flow event may be substantially larger than the associated recharge to the pressure mound. In some instances, the volume discharged as overland flow in a few hours may exceed the total storm water recharge to the groundwater mound over the previous three weeks. Macropore modeling is used within the context of a pressure mound poro-elastic fluid expulsion model in order to analyze this phenomena and determine (i) how this phenomena can be used to extract large volumes of stored filtered storm water (at high flow rates) from within a self-sealing high permeability pressure mound and (ii) how self-sealing pressure mounds (created using storm water infiltration) can be used to provide a sustainable low cost source of treated water for agricultural, drinking, and other water abstraction purposes.
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