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Impervious structures below the water table modify the natural groundwater flow in aquifers. They act as barriers, causing heads to rise upgradient and to fall downgradient. We define the barrier effect as the increase in head loss across the barrier with respect to the natural conditions prior to construction. We distinguish between regional (the minimum head loss observed at long distances) and local (the maximum head loss observed close to the structure) barrier effects. We use numerical and analytical methods to derive
semi-empirical equations to quantify the two barrier effects for semi-permeable, partially penetrating (or fully penetrating but finite in length), and barriers with a by-pass in confined aquifers. The resulting equations depend on the barrier geometry and on the natural head gradient in the aquifer and they are easy to apply.
We test their validity at two construction sites, obtaining excellent agreement between the computed and observed barrier effects.
CitationPujades , E. [et al.]. Barrier effect of underground structures on aquifers. "Engineering geology", 2012, vol. 145-146, p. 41-49.
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