The water in the aquifer is
originally rainwater and melting snow. These waters seep downward
into the ground and percolate through the soil and fractured bedrock
until they reach the aquifer. Once in the aquifer, water is free
to flow laterally (north/ east/ south/ west/ etc.) instead of just
Some rocks are
easier for water to flow through than others. The ease with which
water flows through rock is called the rocks permeability.
to flow through quickly. Rocks
with low permeability block the underground flow of water - we call
block flow or just slow it down a
to get into the an aquifer, it must either fall onto the surface of the
earth in a place covered by permeable rocks, or else seep into the
ground through the permeable bed of a stream. Regions where the
surface rocks are pemeable enough for rainwater to percolate down into
the aquifer are called recharge zones because
recharging a battery (except with water
instead of electic potential).
(towns) in the Kutztown region know that as the regions population
grows, we will need to draw more water from the aquifer. Also as
the region becomes more developed, people will build buildings, parking
lots, streets, and other very structures with very low permeabilities
that block the recharge zones, preventing the aquifers from receiving
new water to replace that which we drink from wells. Recharge
zones are also places where pollution from the surface can enter and
contaminate our aquifer.
It is wise to
identify these recharge zones so we don't block them up with with
parking lots or allow pollution to ruin our water supply. The
Sourcewater Protection Program is an intiative of our local government
to determine where rainwater enters our aquifer so we can plan where to
build and not to build. The Borough hired a local geological
engineering company (Spotts, Stevens, and McCoy, Inc.) to develop a
hydrogeologic model of the valley. The company partnered with
Kutztown University's geology program to monitor the water level in
wells in the valley so their professional hydrogeologists could better
understand the shape of the water table
in the region and model groundwater flow. It's nice to see the
good that we can do when we all work together.
students worked to measure the water levels in wells around the valley
using an electronic water level tape, as well as a GPS to precisely
locate their measurements. Michele, Dana, and Dee did a great job!
Mrs. Strauss, and Dee at our first well
Michele holding Dr. Friehauf's portable white board for explaining things, Dana holding maps and water level tape for measuring depth to water in well, and Dee holding field notebook and pencil with extra hard leads (so doesn't smear).
The team worked well together. Each person had their job and coordinated well with the others. We periodically traded off duties, too, so everyone had a chance to learn all of the skills involved.