UW Extension

New project collects static water levels from deep water wells in southeast Wisconsin


Dr. Ken Bradbury is affiliated with the Hydrogeology Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Geoscience.

“We are very excited to be collecting deep water level data in this area for the first time in 30 years,” said Dr. Ken Bradbury.

The University of Wisconsin – Extension’s Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey is starting a new project to collect static (non-pumping) water levels from deep water wells in southeast Wisconsin.  This project is in cooperation with and funded by the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).  The ISWS is collecting similar data in northern Illinois with the goal of developing an up-to-date map of water levels in the deep sandstone aquifer there.  The ISWS has funded the WGNHS to do the data collection in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the WGNHS will be collecting water levels from wells that are open to geologic units below the Maquoketa Shale confining layer. They will be working in the following counties: Rock, Walworth, Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, and Waukesha. Initially, the WGNHS will emphasize the southern tier (Rock, Walworth, and Kenosha).

“We intend to target as many deep wells as possible, including municipal, industrial, commercial, and institutional wells,” said Professor Bradbury.

Ken Bradbury is Assistant Director for Science and the Leader of the Hydrogeology Program at the WGNHS. During the past few years, Dr. Bradbury’s research has focused on how to determine groundwater flow paths near water-supply wells developed in fractured aquifers.

“The project with ISWS blends nicely with my research interests while providing answers to practical questions for the management of Wisconsin’s groundwater resource,” said Ken.

Data analysis and map construction will be done cooperatively by the WGNHS and ISWS.

The WGNHS will be contacting each well owner or operator to obtain permission and details about each well prior to visiting the well for a measurement.  In many cases (especially for water utilities) they expect that the measurements are already being taken by the operator and we will just need to capture the data and confirm the collection methods.  They will also collect GPS coordinates at each site.

The WGNHS will also collect measurements from wells of opportunity, such as wells where they undertake geophysical logging, wells open for pump maintenance, and new wells.

The WGNHS expects that they will periodically need to contact colleagues at the DNR, the USGS, and engineering consulting firms for information about particular wells.

You can assist this effort by informing the WGNHS of particular wells of opportunity (new wells, wells open for maintenance, etc.) that they might not otherwise hear about.  Such information should be forwarded to Mr. Pete Chase (peter.chase@uwex.edu, 608/265.6003).

If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns about this project, please contact Ken Bradbury at ken.bradbury@uwex.edu .