Single-Well Injection-Drift Test to Estimate Groundwater Velocity

Ground Water. 2022 Jul;60(4):565-570. doi: 10.1111/gwat.13184. Epub 2022 Feb 25.


A simple algebraic equation is presented here to estimate the magnitude of groundwater velocity based on data from a single-well injection-drift test thereby eliminating the time-consuming and costly extraction phase. A volume of tracer-amended water was injected by forced-gradient into a single well followed by monitoring of the conservative solute tracers under natural-gradient conditions as their upgradient portions drifted back through the well. The breakthrough curve data from the single well during the drift phase was analyzed to determine the mean travel times of the tracers. The estimated mean upgradient travel distance back through the single well and the mean travel times of the tracers were used in a simple algebraic equation to estimate groundwater velocity. The groundwater velocity based on the single-well injection-drift test was estimated to be approximately 0.64 ft per day. Two transects of observation wells were used to monitor the natural-gradient tracer transport downgradient of the injection well. The one-dimensional, or dual-well, transport of the tracer from the injection well to the nearest downgradient observation well indicated that the groundwater velocity was 0.55 ft per day. The two-dimensional, or multi-well, transport of the center of mass of the tracers indicated that the groundwater velocity was 0.60 ft per day; the dual- and multi-well results were in excellent agreement with those from the single-well and validated the simple algebraic equation. The new single-well method presented here is relatively simple, rapid, and does not require an extraction phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Groundwater*
  • Water
  • Water Movements
  • Water Wells


  • Water