Mark L. Perry

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

James N. Dornbush


Groundwater makes up approximately one-half of the drinking water supply in the United States. Total groundwater withdrawals in 1980 including irrigation, rural, and industrial water usage con­sisted of almost 90 billion gallons per day am continues to increase. The knowledge of how groundwater moves and how quality changes occur is therefore very important. The Big Sioux River basin of eastern South Dakota contains a large groundwater source, the Big Sioux aquifer. The Big Sioux aquifer is a shallow aquifer consisting of sands and gravels which are good for gravel mining purposes. In the last 20 years, largescale gravel excavations have increased in the Big Sioux aquifer near Brookings, South Dakota. The gravel is mined from below the water table creating permanent ponds, unless filled. Interest on the impacts of large-scale gravel excavations on groundwater movement and quality has therefore increased. There has been no known study on the influence of largescale gravel excavations in the Big Sioux River basin until recently. Theses have been presented by Kothari and Rasmussen concerning the impacts of large-scale gravel excavation on groundwater movements and quality. Kothari’s study consisted of evaluating groundwater movements from the effects of large-scale gravel excavations and comparing the water quality of the pond at the L.G. Everist gravel pit near Brookings, South Dakota with the raw and treated Brookings well water supply. Rasmussen's study consisted of determining the seasonal quality variations of groundwater moving through a large-scale gravel excavation (Everist gravel pit). Both Kothari and Rasmussen concluded that water quality of the Everist gravel pit was chemically superior to that of the Brookings well supply. Kothari and Rasmussen also recommended that an investigation on the cause of the superior gravel pit water and further research on the effects of the infiltration areas to the north of the gravel pit be made. The research presented herein was undertaken with the following objectives in mind: (1) To determine groundwater movement changes due to largescale gravel excavations, (2) To determine the influence of precipitation and runoff on groundwater movement and quality, and (3) To show same possible economic benefits of a gravel pit water supply.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Groundwater flow
Groundwater -- Quality
Big Sioux River (S.D. and Iowa)
Big Sioux Aquifer (S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State