Awesome Aquifers Vocab- Learning to Express Yourself Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Aeration Zone
The zone immediately below the land surface where the pores contain both water and air, but are not totally saturated with water. Plant roots can capture the moisture passing through this zone, but it cannot provide water for wells. Also known as the unsaturated zone.
Aquifer
Porous, water-saturated layers of sand, gravel, or bedrock that transmit and store groundwater.
Cone of Depression
The depression in the water table around a well defining the area of influence of the well.
Confining Layer
A layer of geological material that is impermeable and blocks the flow of groundwater
Depletion
The loss of water from surface water reservoirs or groundwater aquifers at a rate greater than that of recharge.
Discharge
An outflow of water from a stream, pipe, groundwater aquifer, or watershed; the opposite of recharge.
Drawdown
effect where the water table around the well is lowered
Flow Rate
The time required for a volume of groundwater to move between points. Typically groundwater moves very slowly—sometimes only inches per year.
Groundwater
Water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers.
Hydrologic Cycle
The water cycle.
Impermeable Layer
A layer of material (such as clay) in an aquifer through which water does not pass.
Infiltration
Flow of water from the land surface into the subsurface.
Infiltration Rate
The quantity of water that enters the soil surface in a specified time interval. Often expressed in volume of water per unit of soil surface area per unit of time.
Monitoring Well
A non-pumping well, generally of small diameter, that is used to measure the elevation of a water table or water quality.
Overwithdrawal
Withdrawal of groundwater over a period of time that exceeds the recharge rate of the supply aquifer. Also referred to as overdraft or mining the aquifer.
Permeable/Permeability
Capable of transmitting water (porous rock, sediment, or soil); the rate at which water moves through rocks or soil.
Permeable Layer
A layer of porous material (rock, soil, unconsolidated sediment); in an aquifer, the layer through which water freely passes as it moves through the ground.
Plume
An underground pattern of contaminant concentrations created by the lateral movement of groundwater beneath a contaminant source.
Pore Space
Openings between geologic material found underground. Also referred to as void space or interstices.
Porosity
The percentage of the total volume of a rock or sediment that consists of open spaces.
Recharge
Water added to an aquifer; ex. rainfall that seeps into the ground.
Recharge Rate
The quantity of water per unit of time that replenishes or refills an aquifer.
Recharge Zone
An area where permeable soil or rock allows water to seep into the aquifer.
Remediation
Containment, treatment or removal of contaminated groundwater. May also include containment, treatment or removal of contaminated soil above the water table.
Residence Time
Period of time that groundwater remains in an aquifer.
Safe Yield
The annual amount of water that can be taken from a source of supply over a period of years without depleting that source beyond its ability to be replenished naturally in "wet years." Also called sustainable yield.
Salt Water Intrusion
Process by which an aquifer is overdrafted creating a flow imbalance within an area that results in salt water encroaching into fresh water supply.
Saturation Zone
The portion of the earth's crust that's saturated with water. The upper surface of this zone, open to atmospheric pressure, is known as the water table.
Subsidence
A depression of the land surface as a result of groundwater being pumped. Cracks and fissures can appear in the ground. Subsidence is virtually an irreversible process.
Surface Water
Fresh water found above ground in lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.
Water Table
The underground surface below which the ground is wholly saturated with water.
Well
A bored, drilled or driven shaft, or a dug hole whose depth is greater than the largest surface dimension and whose purpose is to reach underground water supplies to inject, extract or monitor water.
Well Closure
The process of sealing a well that is no longer being used to prevent groundwater contamination and harm to people and animals.
Well Siting
Location of a well placed to best protect water quality, access adequate water quantity, and allow for inspection and maintenance of the well.
Wellhead Protection Area
A protected surface and subsurface zone surrounding a well or well field supplying a public water system to keep contaminants from reaching the well water.
Withdrawal
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Wastewater
Water that contains unwanted material from homes, businesses and industries' a mixture of water and dissolved or suspended substances.
Wastewater Treatment
Any of the mechanical or chemical processes used to modify the quality of wastewater in order to make it more compatible or acceptable to humans and the environment.
Water-bearing Rocks
Several types of rock that can hold water, including: sedimentary deposits (sand and gravel), channels in carbonate rocks (limestone),etc.
Water Quality
The chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water with respect to its suitability for a particular use.
Water Quality Standards
Recommended or enforceable maximum levels of chemicals or materials in water. (est. by municipalities, industries, etc.)
Watershed
the land are from which surface runoff drains into a stream, channel, lake, reservoir, or other body of water; aka drainage basin.
Water Treatment Plant
Facility that treats water to remove contaminants so that it can be safely used.
Well Field
An are in which productive wells are drilled.
Wetlands
Lands where water saturation is the dominant factor in determining the nature of soil development and types of plant and animal communities. (aka sloughs, ponds, marshes.)
Xeriscaping
an environmentally friendly for of landscaping that uses a variety of indigenous and drought tolerant plants, shrubs, and ground cover.
Aquiclude
Geologic material that hinders or prevents groundwater movement.
Aquifer Storage & Retrieval (ASR)
Use of a well or series of wells to inject surface water into an aquifer during wet weather or low demand periods for purposes of withdrawal and use during drought/high demand periods.
Artificial Recharge
Putting water back into groundwater storage from surface water supplies. (Includes ASR)
Baseflow
Streamflow coming from groundwater seepage into a stream or river. Grounwater flows underground untill the water table intersects the land surface and the flowing water becomes surface water. (Springs, lakes, rivers, streams.)
Best Management Practices (BMP's)
Techniques recognized to be the most effective way of reducing groundwater contamination while still allowing the productive use of the resource.
Brackish
A mixture of salt and freshwater.
Capillary Fringe
The area just above the water table, in the aeration zone, where water moves upward from the water table by capillary action.
Collection Site
A stream, lake, reservoir, or other body of water fed by water drained from a watershed.
Confined Aquifer
An aquifer confined between two layers of impermeable geologic material. When tapped by a well, the water is forced upward, sometimes above the surface.
Conservation
The use of water saving m,ethods to reduce the amount of water needed for day to day use.
Consolidated Rock
Tightly bound geologic formation composed of sandstone, limestone, granite, or other rock.
Consumptive Use.
The use of a resource that reduces the supply.
Contaminant
Any substance that when added to water makes it impure and unfit for consumption or another intended use.
Darcy's Law
Groundwater movement equation developed by Henry Darcy in the mid-1800's.
Diffusion
The movement of a substance from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration.
Discharge Area
The area or zone where groundwater emerges from an aquifer. The outflow may be into a stream, lake, spring, wetland, etc.
Drought
An extended period of little or no precipitation.
Erosion
The wearing down or washing away of soil and land surface by action of water, wind, or ice.
Evapotranspiration
The loss of water from soil through both evaporation and transpiration from plants.
Filtering
The soil's ability to absorb and retain chemicals or dissolved substances on the surface of it's particles.
Fresh Water
Water with less than .5 parts per thousand dissolved salts.
Gaining Stream
A stream in which groundwater contributes significantly to the streamflow.
Gray Water
Domestic wastewater composed of wash water from household sinks, tubs, and washers.
Groundwater Basin
The underground are from which groundwater drains.
Groundwater Divide
The boundary between two adjacent groundwater basins, represented by a highpoint in the water table.
Groundwater UDI
Groundwater close enough to nearby surface water to recieve direct surface water recharge.
Hydrogeology
The study of the interrelationships of geologic materials and processes with water, esp. groundwater.
Hydrology
The study of the occurence, distribution, and chemistry of all the waters of the earth.
Induced Recharge
The recharge to an aquifer that occurs when a pumping well creates a cone of depression that lowers an adjacent water table below the level of a stream or lake, causing the stream or lake to lose water to the adjacent groundwater aquifer.
Injection Well
A well constructed for the purpose of injecting treated water, often wastewater, directly into the ground. Water is generally forced (pumped) into the well for dispersal or storage into a designated aquifer. Usually not in aquifers used for drinking water.
Integrated Management
Any combination of physical, technical, administrative, and legal practices relating to surface water and groundwater in a manner designed to increase combined benefits or achieve a more equitable apportionment of benefits from both sources. Also referred to as conjunctive use.
Interflow
Water that travels laterally or horizontally through the aeration zone during or immediately after a precipitation event and discharges into a stream or other body of water.
Karst
A geologic formation of irregular limestone deposits with sinks, underground streams, and caverns.
Leachate
Liquids that have percolated through a soil and that carry substances in solution or suspension.
Leaching
The process by which soluble materials in the soil, such as salts, nutrients, pesticide chemicals, or contaminants, are washed into a lower layer of soil or are dissolved and carried away by water.
Losing Stream
A stream that is losing water to (or recharging) the groundwater system.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
Designation given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to drinking water standards promulgated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. A MCL is the greatest amount of a contaminant allowed in drinking water without causing a risk to human health.
Mining
See overwithdrawal.
Municipal Water System
A network of pipes, pumps and storage/treatment facilities designed to deliver portable water around a city.
Non-Point Source Pollution(NPS)
Pollution discharged over a wide land area, not from one specific location.
Parallel Flow Paths
: Layers of groundwater flow that do not mix with other flow layers because groundwater movement is too slow to create sufficient turbulence to cause mixing to occur.
Perched Aquifer
Localized zone of saturation above the main water table created by an underlying layer of impermeable material.
Percolation
(1) The movement of water through the openings in rock or soil. (2) The entrance of a portion of the streamflow into the channel materials to contribute to groundwater replenishment.
Point Source Solution (PSP)
Pollutants discharged from any identifiable point, including pipes, ditches, channels, sewers, tunnels, and containers of various types.
Pollution
. The alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of water by the introduction of any substance that renders the water harmful to use.
Potable
Water of a quality suitable for drinking.
Potentiometric Surface
The potential level to which water will rise above the water level in an aquifer in a well that penetrates a confined aquifer; if the potential level is higher than the land surface, the well will overflow.
Reclaimed Wastewater
Treated wastewater that can be used for beneficial purposes, such as irrigating certain plants.
Recycled Water
Water that is used more than one time before it passes back into the natural hydrologic system.
Return Flow
That part of a diverted flow that is not consumptively used and returned to its original source or another body of water.
Ridge Lines
Points of higher ground that separate two adjacent streams or watersheds; also known as divides.
Runoff
Precipitation that flows over land to surface streams, rivers, and lakes
Salinization
The condition in which the salt content of soil accumulates over time to above normal levels
Salt Marsh
A low coastal grassland frequently inundated by the tide.
Saturated Thickness
Total water-bearing thickness of an aquifer.
Seepage
The loss of water by infiltration into the soil from a canal, ditch, lateral, watercourse, reservoir, storage facility, or other body of water, or from a field.
Septic System
Used to treat household sewage and wastewater by allowing the solids to decompose and settle in a tank, then letting the liquid be absorbed by the soil in a drainage field.
Soil
The top layer of the Earth's surface, containing unconsolidated rock and mineral particles mixed with organic material.
Soil Moisture
Water contained in the aeration or unsaturated zone.
Sole Source Aquifer
: An aquifer that supplies 50% or more of the drinking water of an area.
Source Water Assesment
A process in which the land area that impacts a public drinking water source is delineated, possible sources of contaminants that could impact that drinking water source are identified, and a determination of the likelihood that the contaminants will reach the drinking water source is made.
Source Water Protection
Voluntary action taken to prevent the pollution of drinking water sources, including groundwater, lakes, rivers, and streams.
Spring
The emergence of groundwater at the land surface, usually at a clearly defined point; it may flow strongly or just ooze or seep out.
Static Water Level
The level or elevation to which water would rise in a tube connected to an artesian aquifer or basin in a conduit under pressure.
Storm Drain
Constructed opening in a road system through which runoff from the road surface flows into an underground system.
Substrate
A layer of material beneath the surface soil.
Temporary Wetland
A type of wetland in which water is present for only part of the year, usually during wet or rainy seasons; also known as vernal pools.
Thermal Spring
Heated groundwater that naturally flows to the land surface
Transmissivity
A measure of the capability of the entire thickness of an aquifer to transmit water.
Turbidity
A cloudy condition in water due to suspended silt or organic matter.
Unconfined Aquifer
An aquifer in which the water table is at or near atmosphere pressure and is the upper boundary of the aquifer. Because the aquifer is not under pressure the water level in a well is the same as the water table outside the well.
Unconsolidated Rock
Loosely bound geologic formation composed of sands and gravel.
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