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On-Demand Webinars

Analysis of Aquitard Integrity

We face a common problem: how many times have you learned of a shallow groundwater contamination problem and heard someone say "We don't have to worry about the deep aquifer, it is protected by an overlying aquitard"?

How many times have you seen cross sections showing that downward migration of contaminants stops at a clay or shale layer? Have you ever really investigated these aquitards? How do you know they are effective barriers to contaminant movement?

Aquitards are critically important for understanding groundwater protection, drinking water supplies, and contaminant movement. Although aquitards may seem to make up only minor parts of hydrostratigraphic sequences they commonly control the overall groundwater flow system by influencing recharge, discharge, vertical head distributions, groundwater flow paths, and contaminant migration. During this 2-part webinar series, you will:

  • Discover the unique hydraulic properties of low-permeability units.

  • Learn about recent advances for testing aquitard integrity and apply it to your monitoring or ground water supply protection program.

  • Avoid common mistakes related to characterizing ground water movement and contaminant pathways in low-permeability units.

Both unconsolidated and bedrock aquitards share inherent low hydraulic conductivities, but approaches and field methods for characterizing each type can be completely different. This 2-part webinar series will unravel the complexity of aquitards and their hydrogeologic and hydraulic relationships.


  • Hydrogeologic Characterization
  • Environmental Site Investigation
  • Remediation
  • Water Supply
  • Engineering Design

Highlights from Part One include:

  • Aquifers and Aquitards: the importance of aquitards in all groundwater projects
  • Definitions and basic categories of aquitards
  • Hydrostratigraphic relationships and hydrogeologic context
  • Definitions of aquitard integrity
  • Keys to aquitard evaluation
  • Defining the water table in low-permeability settings
  • Do's and Don't's of monitoring aquitards
  • How aquitards control groundwater flow system

Highlights from Part Two include:

  • Summary of aquitard hydraulics
  • Vertical vs. horizontal gradients: deciphering relationships
  • How aquitards refract groundwater flow lines
  • Diagnostic plots of hydraulic head profiles
  • Relationships between hydraulic gradients, hydraulic conductivity, and groundwater flow rates
  • Effects of transient conditions
  • Evidence for (and against) perched conditions
  • Example problem

Protect yourself, your company and your clients by learning how to assess which parts of the formation control aquitard integrity. The simple key to these concepts is correctly evaluating aquitard integrity.

Discover these hydrogeologic tools that are found no where else on the web.

"All the webinars that I ordered were excellent, taught by high quality instructors. Each one addressed some (important technical) gaps. I enjoyed the webinars on the 'Hydrogeology of Aquitards and Low Permeability Materials' and the webinar on 'Slug Testing for Site Characterization'. These are important hydrologic subjects that are not usually covered in school curricula. Aquitards are important part of every groundwater project when describing the flow of groundwater in aquifers or the movement of contaminants in groundwater."
- William Ford, Geohydrologist, Federal Agency

Instructors Bio

Kenneth Bradbury, PhD, PG
Ken Bradbury received his PhD in Geology from the UW-Madison in 1982, and has been a research hydrogeologist/professor with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, University of Wisconsin-Extension, since that time. He serves as Program Leader of water and environmental programs for the Survey.

Ken's applied research includes groundwater flow in fractured media, aquitard hydrogeology, groundwater recharge processes, wellhead protection, and the hydrogeology of glacial deposits.

Ken is the author of numerous scientific papers and reports, is a Fellow in the Geological Society of America, has chaired the National Research Council Committee on Water Resources Research for the U.S. Geological Survey, and is a former member of the National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board. In 2007 Ken undertook six weeks of research and teaching in South Africa and Zimbabwe supported by the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program.

Dave Hart PhD, PG

Dave Hart is a hydrogeologist/geophysicist with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Dave's applied research includes regional groundwater flow and recharge in southeastern Wisconsin, near-surface geophysics, and measurement of porosities and permeabilities in aquifers and aquitards. Prior to joining the university, he served as a hydrogeologist with Eder Associates. He is an associate editor for Ground Water and past president of the AWRA - Wisconsin Section.

Fee: 299.00 USD Per Webinar

Downloads: Session Slides (PDF)
Additional Materials
  • Aquitard References

  • Contaminant Transport Through Aquitards: A State of the Science Review

  • Contaminant Transport Through Aquitards: Technical Guidance for Aquitard Assessment

Record of Attendance Form (PDF)

Number of Participants: Unlimited from a single computer (Broadcast webinar in your conference room or auditorium for no extra charge)

Continuing Education Certificates: Unlimited. $14.95 each. Official CEU certificates are available as an option and only available at the time of webinar participation from Northern Illinois University. Ordering steps are given at time of webinar order.

Access: On-demand, anytime 24/7.
Access Duration: 24 hours.

Discounts: Buy 3 on-demand webinars, and get 3 on-demand webinars for free!

Duration: 90 minutes
PDH Earned: 1.5 hours
MA LSP: 1.5 hours (MA LSP No. 1417-C)
Instructor(s): Ken Bradbury, Ph.D., PG Program Leader and Hydrogeologist and
David Hart, Ph.D., PG, Hydrogeologist

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