The hydraulic properties were updated and their effects on ground-water flow in the St. Peter-Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer in the Rochester area in southeastern Minnesota were evaluated, using new information compiled since a study by Delin (1990). Since 1988, new information on the hydrogeology of the ground-water system in the Rochester area has become available from well-drilling and construction activity associated with Rochester's rapid growth. The St. Peter-Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer consists of the St. Peter Sandstone, the Prairie du Chien Group (limestones and dolomites), and the Jordan Sandstone. Horizontal hydraulic conductivity and transmissivity were determined from 15 aquifer tests and specific-capacity information compiled for 310 wells. A 140-square-mile area of the aquifer bounded on the west, south, and east by a ground-water divide contributes water to the Rochester, Minnesota, municipal wells. Transmissivities for the St. Peter-Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer in the study area range from less than 5,000 square feet per day (ft2/d) to greater than 20,000 ft2/d. Transmissivities greater than 20,000 ft2/d occur in the west-central, northwestern, and east-central parts of the study area. Transmissivities of less than 5,000 ft2/d occur in the northern, northeastern, central, and southern parts of the study area. The areas of greatest potential well yield coincide with areas of greatest transmissivity. Delin (1990) developed a ground-water-flow model to simulate flow of ground water in the St. Peter-Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer in the Rochester area. The 1988 Rochester model was rerun using revised horizontal hydraulic conductivity arrays in the model, based on the transmissivity distribution determined for this study. The results of the simulations using horizontal hydraulic conductivities based on the transmissivity distribution determined for this study may indicate that transmissivity values derived from specific-capacity information generally are too high. The transmissivity distribution determined for this study, however, is valid as an indicator of the spatial variability of the relative magnitude of transmissivity and potential well yield for the St. Peter-Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer in the study area. Water-level changes in wells from January through February 1988 to February through March 1995 ranged from -6.8 to +15.3 feet. Water-level changes in 12 Rochester municipal wells for the same period ranged from -7.4 to +8.0 feet. Water levels in wells generally rose in the northern and eastern parts of the study area and generally declined in the southwestern and western parts. Near Rochester, water levels in wells generally declined near the city boundaries and showed little change or rose in the central part of the city. Water-level changes from 1988 to 1995 near the ground-water divide generally were less than 2 feet, resulting in no appreciable changes in the location of the divide.
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U.S. Geological Survey
Minnesota Water Research Digital Library