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Techniques and Methods 1–A1

Office of Groundwater

Groundwater Technical Procedures of the U.S. Geological Survey

Compiled by William L. Cunningham and Charles W. Schalk

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A series of groundwater technical procedures documents (GWPDs) has been released by the U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Discipline, for general use by the public. These technical procedures were written in response to the need for standardized technical procedures of many aspects of groundwater science, including site and measuring-point establishment, measurement of water levels, and measurement of well discharge. The techniques are described in the GWPDs in concise language and are accompanied by necessary figures and tables derived from cited manuals, reports, and other documents. Because a goal of this series of procedures is to remain current with the state of the science, and because procedures change over time, this report is released in an online format only. As new procedures are developed and released, they will be linked to this document.

First posted April 22, 2011

  • Report PDF (Entire report, 7 MB) Individual GWPDs are provided in the Contents section, below.

For additional information contact:
William L. Cunningham
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Mail Stop 411
Reston, VA 20192

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Cunningham, W.L., and Schalk, C.W., comps., 2011, Groundwater technical procedures of the U.S. Geological Survey:
U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 1–A1, 151 p.
(available only online at


Individual groundwater technical procedures documents (GWPDs) are provided below in PDF format



Purpose and Scope

Review and Revision

Technical Procedures

GWPD 1—Measuring water levels by use of a graduated steel tape

GWPD 2—Identifying a minimum set of data elements to establish a groundwater site

GWPD 3—Establishing a permanent measuring point and other reference marks

GWPD 4—Measuring water levels by use of an electric tape

GWPD 5—Documenting the location of a well

GWPD 6—Recognizing and removing debris from a well

GWPD 7—Estimating discharge from a naturally flowing well

GWPD 8—Estimating discharge from a pumped well by use of the trajectory free-fall or jet-flow method

GWPD 9—Recording minimum and maximum water levels

GWPD 10—Estimating discharge from a pumped well by use of a circular orifice weir

GWPD 11—Measuring well depth by use of a graduated steel tape

GWPD 12—Measuring water levels in a flowing well

GWPD 13—Measuring water levels by use of an air line

GWPD 14—Measuring continuous water levels by use of a float-activated recorder

GWPD 15—Obtaining permission to install, maintain, or use a well on private property

GWPD 16—Measuring water levels in wells and piezometers by use of a submersible pressure transducer

GWPD 17—Conducting an instantaneous change in head (slug) test with a mechanical slug and submersible pressure transducer


References Cited

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