Faculté des sciences

Hydraulic testing of low-permeability formations: A case study in the granite of Cadalso de los Vidrios, Spain

Mejías, Miguel ; Renard, Philippe ; Glenz, Damian

In: Engineering Geology, 2009, vol. 107, no. 3-4, p. 88-97

In recent years, the study of low-permeability geological formations has undergone considerable development. This is mainly due to the use of natural geological barriers to confine waste disposals, preventing leaking water from bringing contaminants into contact with the biosphere and the groundwater resources. In that context, the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME, Spanish acronym), supported... Plus

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    Summary
    In recent years, the study of low-permeability geological formations has undergone considerable development. This is mainly due to the use of natural geological barriers to confine waste disposals, preventing leaking water from bringing contaminants into contact with the biosphere and the groundwater resources.
    In that context, the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME, Spanish acronym), supported by the National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ENRESA, Spanish acronym) and with the technical advice of the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) designed and built a Mobile Hydrogeological Unit (UMH, Spanish acronym) for low-permeability formations characterization, which has been operational since 1997 and has been used for different purposes. Among other possibilities, the UMH allows conducting: constant transient-state flow-rate injection tests, constant-head transient-state injection tests, pseudo-stationary state injection tests, pressure fall-off tests, slug tests and pulse tests.
    The main objectives of this article are to describe the hydraulic characterization methodology used by IGME to carry out hydraulic tests in low permeability environment, to compare different testing methods and to summarize the results that have been obtained when characterizing the leucogranites of Cadalso de los Vidrios in Spain. The study area presents an increasing interest for granite production inside the Community of Madrid. The petrological and structural characteristics of the granite rocks and the core-samples extracted from a 200 m deep borehole investigation are described. The packer tests are conducted with the Mobile Hydrogeological Unit.
    The tests are interpreted with the help of analytical solutions. The main software used is Hytool, an open source matlab toolbox that provides a library of analytical solutions and a set of routines to facilitate hydraulic tests interpretation.
    The results allow the elaboration of a comparative analysis of the applied hydraulic tests and to define the hydraulic conductivity optimum application interval most suited for each of the used methods.
    Hydraulic conductivity values obtained varies from 3.20•10−7 m/s, for the upper weathered layer, to 2.80•10−12 m/s, for the test section from 97.36 to 116.15 m depth.
    Finally, the hydraulic conductivity values obtained in this area are compared with other case studies of granite formations around the world.