Ground Monitoring using Resistivity Measurements in Glaciated Terrains

University dissertation from Institutionen för anläggning och miljö

Abstract: The most common method of monitoring and mapping groundwatercontaminants is to extract and analyse a number of groundwatersamples from wells in the investigation area. However, thereare a number of limitations with this type of point-wiseinvestigation, as it is hard to acquire an adequate picture ofa heterogeneous and anisotropic subsurface using a fewpoints.To overcome the limitations of point investigations and toimprove ground monitoring investigations in a cost-effectiveway, support can be provided by direct current resistivitymeasurements, which give a characterisation of the electricalproperties of a ground volume.The main objective with this work was to investigate theusability of the resistivity method as a support in monitoringgroundwater contaminants in glaciated terrains and underdifferent seasons, both in long-term monitoring programmes andintracer tests.The work comprised field investigations at several differentsanitary landfills and four tracer tests in differentgeological environments, around the Stockholm region. The maininvestigations have been done at Högbytorp, Stockholmwhich has been used for long-term investigations of theresistivity variation, together with a field set up formonitoring and measurements on seasonal variation in soilmoisture, ground temperature and precipitation.It can be concluded that the use of resistivity measurementssupplies valuable information in the case of mapping andmonitoring conductive groundwater contaminants andfurthermore:The variation in resistivity (in shallow investigations<1 m) can be extensive between different seasons (around30 % compared to a mean value in till and clay soils) andshould be considered, so that anthropogenic affects can beseparated from natural resistivity variation. For deeperinvestigations (>5 m) the seasonal resistivity variationwas more moderate (around 15% compared to a mean value intill and clay soils).Soil moisture variation shows a strong relationship toresistivity variation in the investigated clay and tillsoils. Together with temperature correction 47 to 65% of thevariation has been explained.Three types of monitoring systems can be applied:Permanently installed, partly installed and fully mobilesystems. For the actual measurements, all three types can useeither high-density techniques such as CVES (ContinuousVertical Electrical Sounding) or low-density measuring withone or some different electrode spacings.The suggested evaluation tool for monitoring programmesshowed that it was possible to detect a decrease of 15 % inthe mean value at a specific site using Modified Double Masscalculations between resistivity time series and time seriesat a reference site with a comparable seasonalvariation.Resistivity measurements may be used as a valuablecomplement to groundwater sampling in tracer tests. Adecrease in resistivity, a minimum and a recovery phasereflect the passage of a NaCl-solution, which can be used toestimate flow velocity and flow patterns of the investigatedaquifer. The achieved recovery of NaCl in the tracer testscarried out was estimated to 20 to 70 %.The measurement system for long-term monitoring or tracertests, which should be chosen with regard to layout andfrequency, depends on the purpose of measurement and onsite-specific conditions and therefore no standard solutioncan be proposed.Key words:Resistivity, Direct Current, Monitoring,Groundwater, Contaminant, Tracer test, Geophysics.

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