Groundwater Engineering

Groundwater is a critical component of water resources management in both urban and rural areas. In both areas, groundwater can be used as a supplemental resource to surface water to satisfy drinking water and irrigation demands. Groundwater often is used in times of drought or rainfall uncertainty, and also due to proximity of cultivated areas, to aquifer systems. The interaction between the human environment and regional aquifer systems, however, is often stressed. In many areas, over-pumping has led to declining groundwater levels and the possibility of complete groundwater depletion. In other areas, naturally shallow groundwater levels threaten urban infrastructure (e.g. foundations and basements) or decades-long cultivation practices. The use of chemicals in industrial, residential, and agricultural areas also leads to groundwater pollution. Analysis of groundwater for a wide-ranging suite of chemical contaminants must also be performed before the water can be put towards beneficial use. A variety of data collection and modeling methods can be used to estimate the quantity and quality of groundwater in space and time, and to also predict the impact of management practices on such.

Faculty in Groundwater Engineering perform research in the following areas:

More detailed information can be found at the research webpages of Dr. Tom Sale ( and Dr. Ryan Bailey (

Cryogenic Coring:


Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing:


ZVI-Clay Soil Mixing:


Small Island Water Resources Analysis:


SWAT-MODFLOW for coupled land surface / subsurface hydrologic modeling: