Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department



Time-lag, Diaphragm, Clay, Pore pressure, Response


Traditionally-constructed wells are commonly used to measure hydraulic head in all saturated systems, even in fine-grained sediments. Previous studies (Hvorslev 1951, Penman 1961) have shown that time lag in response to head changes between traditional wells and the surrounding fine-grained sediments can be a significant source of error. Time lag is caused by the time required for water to flow into or out of the well to reflect the appropriate change in head. A low-volume piezometer was constructed to measure changes in hydraulic head without requiring a change in fluid volume within the piezometer by directly measuring pore pressure in the surrounding sediments. The low-volume piezometer used a commercially-available pressure transducer that is hydraulically connected to the surrounding sediment by a porous-ceramic cylinder.

The device is attached to a drive point that allows for quick insertion without creating excessive over-pressure so that equilibrium is achieved rapidly. The low-volume piezometer was inserted near traditionally-constructed wells in 3-4 m thick, saturated clay in west-central Florida. The low-volume piezometer was field tested to compare measured pore pressures with observed levels in traditionally-constructed wells. The comparison highlights any head difference between the two methods, and determines if there is a time lag between the two measurement methods and its magnitude. The low-volume piezometer was installed next to a traditionally-constructed well and heads in both wells were monitored for three months. Results show that the low-volume piezometer can take up to a month to reach equilibrium. Using Hvorslev's equations, traditionally-constructed wells have time lag of roughly 6 orders of magnitude greater than the low-volume piezometer.

If this is correct, it could take up to 83,000 years for a traditionally-constructed well to reach equilibrium. However, when a trend analysis is performed on the hydrographs from the low-volume piezometer and the two traditional wells, the correlation coefficients are 0.95 and 0.96. The very strong correlation suggests that the low-volume piezometer and the traditional wells both respond similarly to changes in head. More field data need to be collected, but it appears that contrary to theory, time lag in traditionally-constructed wells may be negligible.