SME has developed a comprehensive understanding of groundwater management issues related to the testing, design, excavation, construction and operation of a wide range of commercial, industrial, agricultural and transportation projects.

Groundwater exists at most sites, especially in the Great Lakes region. Identification, evaluating and management of groundwater is critical to the success of many projects and has been an integral part of SME’s geotechnical service offerings for decades. SME’s engineers have tested, evaluated, designed and implemented groundwater management programs across the United States ranging from small urban properties to entire watersheds. Our investigations have focused on groundwater geology, groundwater occurrence and movement, and groundwater quality. SME’s development of groundwater management programs has required detailed studies of yield and quality, conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater, clear understanding of basin hydrology, and balancing of municipal and agricultural requirements for quality, reliability and quantity.

SME’s groundwater management services include:

Groundwater Resources

  • Water supply investigation, evaluation, and design
  • Diversion impact assessments
  • Stormwater control projects
  • Surface water management

Discharge to Groundwater

  • Hydraulic mounding analysis
  • Discharge to groundwater permits
  • Dilution modeling
Aquifer Investigations

  • Groundwater observation wells
  • Pumping test design and analysis
  • Simulation of groundwater flow

Construction Dewatering

  • Planning dewatering systems
  • Sumps and pumps
  • Well and wellpoints 
  • Drawdown analysis
  • Design of dewatering systems
  • Specifications
  • Monitoring

Dewatering Plans

SME’s engineers have extensive experience in developing dewatering plans. When a project needs to excavate below the groundwater, a dewatering system will extract the groundwater through a single or network of wells to lower the water level when recovering groundwater for short-term remediation. SME uses a system that stores it in tankers for treatment at a disposal facility or coupled with specialized treatment systems to discharge into a nearby stormwater receptacle under an EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. 
  • Dewatering system design
  • Temporary water allocation permits
  • Dewatering permits-by-rule

Pumping Test

Pumping tests are an important part of the investigation for dewatering of construction sites. Supported by other types of groundwater investigations and groundwater monitoring, they can provide valuable information during the planning and design of construction projects. Consisting of a test well and a series of observation wells, water is pumped into or out of the test well at a uniform rate until the water levels in the test well and the observation wells remain stationary. SME’s geotechnical engineers routinely use pumping tests to:

  • Obtain permeability values for groundwater control and geotechnical design
  • Investigate water quality on potentially contaminated sites and as part of groundwater remediation
  • Assess the performance of new water supply wells
  • Assess the need for, and results of, water well rehabilitation

Observation Wells

Observation wells are small diameter drilled wells which can be installed at the same time and with the same drilling equipment used for conventional soil borings. These wells can be used to monitor changes in water levels with over time, estimate the soil permeability, and for sampling for water quality testing. Data from the observation wells can then be used in the planning and design for various groundwater management issues

Infiltration Testing

SME performs field infiltration testing to determine the potential water infiltration rates for stormwater management and control. The results of the field tests are used to properly size and locate proposed stormwater management facilities and systems. Infiltration testing is typically conducted early in the planning and design process to determine if an infiltration-based design is suitable for a specific site and at what locations within the site. Testing also helps to evaluate the subsurface conditions below existing surfaces including pavements, and identifies existing soil horizons (layers), as well as any limiting features, historic conditions, etc.

  • Background evaluation
  • Test pit (deep hole) observations
  • Infiltration testing
  • Design considerations

Related Services

Service Experts

Joel W. Rinkel, PE

Vice President
Geotechnical-Design Services

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