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Madison Aquifer Study in the Rapid City Area

Project Period: 2000-2008
Cooperator: City of Rapid City
Project Chief: Larry Putnam

Executive Summary

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the city of Rapid City have had a long-term cooperative relationship to conduct hydrologic investigations to better understand the complex system that supplies water to Rapid City and the surrounding area. Rapid City has become a regional water supplier and demand for water within and beyond the city limits continues to increase steadily due to rapid population growth. As such, sound scientific information is needed to assess the consequences of future development and drought on water supplies and to maintain the delivery of high-quality water. This collaborative study plan is designed to assist the City with hydrologic data and additional interpretive information to better provide a sustainable, high-quality water supply. City water supplies are obtained from wells completed in the Madison and Minnelusa aquifers, collection galleries in the alluvium along Rapid Creek, and surface water from Rapid Creek.

The Madison and Minnelusa aquifers are vital water supplies for Rapid City and the surrounding areas. The Madison aquifer is especially vulnerable to contamination in the Rapid City area because of (1) bedrock outcrop areas west of Rapid City; (2) direct connections to potential surface contaminants through streamflow loss zones; and (3) fast travel paths through solution-enhanced openings and fractures. Collection galleries in the Rapid Creek alluvium also are supplied in part by springflow originating from the bedrock aquifers. Evaluations related to meeting future water supply demands and protecting these aquifers from contamination requires a better understanding of the characteristics of these important aquifers. These long-term objectives are being accomplished with a variety of hydrologic investigations conducted by the USGS.

A detailed description of the Madison and Minnelusa aquifers in the Rapid City area is available in “Long, A.J., and Putnam, L.D., 2002, Flow-system analysis of the Madison and Minnelusa aquifers in the Rapid City area, South Dakota--Conceptual Model: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4185, 100 p., 3 pl.”

Objectives

The objectives of the study include maintaining a water-level monitoring network, conducting aquifer tests, analyzing ground-water flow paths using environmental and anthropogenic tracers, compiling and evaluating water budgets, and developing conceptual and numerical models of the aquifers.

Publications

Putnam, L.D., and Long, A.J., 2009, Numerical groundwater-flow model of the Minnelusa and Madison hydrogeologic units in the Rapid City area, South Dakota: U.S Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5205, SIR 2009-5205, 81 p.

Hoogestraat, G.K., Putnam, L.D., and Graham, J.L., 2008, Algal and water-quality data for Rapid Creek and Canyon Lake near Rapid City, South Dakota, 2007: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 354, DS 354, 16 p., online only.

Putnam, L.D., Long, A.J., 2007, Analysis of ground-water flow in the Madison aquifer using fluorescent dyes injected in Spring Creek and Rapid Creek near Rapid City, South Dakota, 2003–04: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007–5137, 27 p.

Long, A.J., and Putnam, L.D., 2004, Linear model describing three components of flow in karst aquifers using 18O data: Journal of Hydrology, v. 296, p. 254-270. Abstractpdf

Long. A.J., and Putnam, L.D., 2002, Evaluating travel times and transient mixing in a karst aquifer using time-series analysis of stable isotope data, in Kuniasky, E.L., ed., U.S. Geological Survey Karst Interest Group Proceedings, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, August 20-22, 2002: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4214. Proceedings

Long, A.J., and Putnam, L.D., 2002, Flow-system analysis of the Madison and Minnelusa aquifers in the Rapid City area, South Dakota--Conceptual model: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4185, 100 p., 3 pl.

Anderson, M.T., Driscoll, D.G., and Williamson, J.E., 1999, Ground-water and surface-water interactions along Rapid Creek near Rapid City, South Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4214, 99 p. WRIR 98-4214

Long, A.J., and Derickson, R.G., 1999, Linear systems analysis in a karst aquifer: Journal of Hydrology, v. 219, p. 206-217.

Greene, E.A., 1997, Characterizing recharge to wells in carbonate aquifers using environmental and artificially recharged tracers, in Morganwalp, D.W., and Buxton, H.T., eds., Proceedings of the Technical Meeting, Charleston, S.C., March 8-12, 1999, Toxic Substances Hydrology  Program: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018-C, p. 803-808. Proceedings

Greene, E.A., 1997, Tracing recharge from sinking streams over spatial dimensions of kilometers in a karst aquifer: Ground Water, v. 35, no. 5, p. 898-904.

Greene, E.A., 1993, Hydraulic properties of the Madison Aquifer System in the western Rapid City area, South Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4008, 56 p. WRIR 93-4008




fluorescein dye in Spring Creek

Fluorescein dye that was injected in Spring Creek on May 29, 2003, enters a swallow hole in the Madison Limestone. Dye from the injection was detected in five wells located as much as 2 miles northeast of the injection site.

real-time monitoring station

A U.S. Geological Survey real-time monitoring station (station 440326103180702) located near Jackson and Cleghorn Springs on the west edge of Rapid City near Rapid Creek monitors water levels in the Madison aquifer. The well is 640 feet deep and is under pressure. A pressure transducer records water levels that are then transmitted by satellite and displayed on NWISWeb under real-time data, ground water. Continuous water-level records for the Madison aquifer at this site are especially important because of the many beneficial uses of water from Jackson and Cleghorn Springs, which discharge primarily from the Madison aquifer.


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